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A Community in Mourning - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A Community in Mourning

Essex, Vermont - August 24, 2006

Linda Lambesis and Alicia Shanks were both dedicated elementary school teachers. And now their family and friends are left with immeasurable pain-- trying to understand what happened to their loved ones.

"Everyone's going to miss her," said Shank's brother, John Workman.

As a funeral director, Workman is used to consoling families-- now it is his that is grieving.

"She just loved teaching. That was what her life was about... little bit of irony that she passed away in her realm of what she loved to do," said Workman.

Workman says his oldest sister, Alicia Shanks, 56, was the matriarch of the family-- taking care of their five brothers and sisters after their mom died. Alicia Shanks went to Essex High School and graduated from Johnson State College with a teaching degree.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of kids who will miss her tremendously, no question. And right now, everyone in the family is trying to pull together and make some sort of sense out of a senseless tragedy, that's what it is," said Workman.

Also mourning-- the St.Albans community. Linda Lambesis was another teacher shot and killed. Her colleagues say she taught second grade for decades and that she had left an in-service day at St. Albans Town Educational Center to go home, because she feared for her daughter's safety.

It was a double blow. Friends and teachers gathered to mourn at the Essex Alliance Church.

"From our perspective, we are here purely as a support... getting tissue boxes, getting them glasses of water, a shoulder to cry on, whatever we can do to help," said Pastor Scott Slocum.

"It's a tragedy including a lot of people and that our heart goes out to those families that have lost somebody as well and that's the first thing Alicia would say, that's the way she is," said Workman.

The Essex Alliance Church is serving as a community center through all of this. They have grief counselors on hand for anyone who needs to talk.

Kristin Carlson - Channel 3 News

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