As her family continues to grieve, the owner of local businesses in Middletown have stepped in to help the community remember 14-year-old Mykiara Jones, who died earlier in July after disappearing under the water at Land of Illusion’s Aqua Adventures Water Park.
The owner of Windamere Event Venue in Middletown is organizing a repast, open to the entire community, so people can gather after the funeral to remember the middle school student.
"It's not only financial, but it's a lot of organizing," said Mica Glaser-Jones, owner of Windamere. "Because, I mean, here you are, trying to process the death of your child, but you're getting inundated with the funeral, this and that, and everyone is coming at you and the last thing you want to do is plan any of that stuff. So if anybody can take that off your hands and take it on themselves, that is a huge help."
After seeing a post on social media asking for help with funeral services for Jones, Glaser-Jones (who is not related to Mykiara) said she had to step in.
"We've hosted repasts in the past before and just knew what goes into them," said Glaser-Jones. "I know there'll be a large outpouring of support of friends, family, school, all of that. So we wanted them to be able to have the space to meet after the services, join each other, share stories and food."
She's not the only community member stepping in to help with things either: Glaser-Jones said several local businesses and citizens throughout the Middletown community have donated food, plates, silverware, drinks and more to make sure Jones' family is as taken care of as possible.
Jones will be laid to rest Tuesday following a memorial service at the Community Harvest Church in Germantown.
On Sunday, a manager at Land of Illusion published an open letter to the local community. The letter is the first communication from the park about the incident since a statement issued shortly after Jones' death.
"While we’ve been cooperating with state and local officials since the incident, out of respect for the family we have not communicated about specific details of the July 20 tragedy," the letter reads. "However, as the manager of the park I feel the need to address some of the confusion and concerns that understandably exist."
As the letter continues, the manager writes that the incident has impacted everyone working at the park and all those who joined in or witnessed the rescue effort.
It goes on to say the park has always and will continue to be dedicated to patrons' safety.
"Our owner was a volunteer firefighter in Madison Township for 27 years," the letter reads. "He opened Land of Illusion initially as a fundraiser for the local fire department. I share this because we prioritize issues regarding the safety of our guests and our employees. Extensive training and daily equipment checks are mandatory. We have invested in rescue equipment and specialized tools, including an AED defibrillator and a special swim chair designed for lake water rescue."
The letter continues on to say that never before has a tragedy like that of Jones' death happened at the park. It said, despite reports and social media buzz, that Jones was not near the park's inflatable course when she went underwater, she was not in that area, nor did the incident happen on or near the Wibit apparatus.