OAK CREEK -- Preparations are underway at Oak Creek High School for funeral services planned for Friday, August 10th for all six victims of Sunday's Sikh Temple shooting. Plans include a two-hour wake followed by a funeral service.
The deceased include:
1. Sita Singh- 41-year-old male
2. Ranjit Singh- 49-year-old male
3. Satwant Singh Kaleka- 62-year-old male
4. Prakash Singh- 39-year-old male
5. Paramjit Kaur- 41-year-old female
6. Suveg Singh Khattra- 84-year-old male
As superintendent for the Oak Creek - Franklin Joint School District, Sara Burmeister said she understands how integral local schools are to their communities. That's why the district launched a series of efforts to assist with the healing process in the wake of Sunday's shooting. This includes having grief counselors available at area schools for anyone who may need assistance coping and processing the tragic events.
"Anything that affects the community affects the school district," Burmeister said.
The school district has plans to open Oak Creek High School's auditorium to the public Thursday night, August 9th to discuss how to broaden understanding of the Sikh religion.
"It will be a continuing thing in our district to help our students and our families understand just how important it is to accept and understand all cultures," Burmeister said.
The Oak Creek High School gymnasium is the planned site for Friday's funeral services, and is one of the largest facilities in the area.
"They mentioned that all of their members of the temple basically live within a two-mile radius of the temple, and many of the children that belong to that temple attend our school district so they wanted some place that would feel like home," Burmeister said.
Several of the shooting victims were priests and clerics important to worship in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek. Friday, some of the Sikh Temple's leaders will be laid to rest. The temple is reaching out to other Sikh communities, hoping they'll send religious figures to help officiate during Friday's services.
'We've requested that any sangat or meditative group or gudwara, if you can't represent by coming to the funeral maybe you can send one of your own for us," Amardeep Kaleka, whose father, Oak Creek Sikh Temple founder and president Satwana Singh Kaleka was killed in the shooting, said.
Worshippers plan to read the Sikh holy book from beginning to end Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"This tragedy went to the heart of the temple in terms of taking out its most highest priests and the people who worked nine to nine, 24 hours a day -- living there and working as hard as they could. Right now, we're doing our best to get back on our feet,"
Wednesday, as the funeral for his brother, Satwant Singh Kaleka was being planned, Jagjit Singh Kaleka spoke of another victim, critically wounded while attending to a victim after being among the first responders to the scene -- Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy.
"I do not have the words for the policeman who took nine shots, whose name I don't know. Definatley you could not ask for a better line of service -- such a soldier. I think the coming generations need an example like that. Sikhs have a long history of bravery. In my mind, he was one of us, just wearing a different uniform," Kaleka said.
Services are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Friday at the Oak Creek High School gymnasium. In lieu of flowers for Friday's funeral services, Sikh community members are asked that donations be made to victims' families.
CLICK HERE for more on the "We Are Sikhs" Fund.
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