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Not losing hope: Vigil aims to lift spirits, offer hope to loved ones of Brian McCluney and Justin Walker, missing at sea

Posted at 9:21 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 23:41:18-04

VERO BEACH, Fla.  — Refusing to give up.
 
It has been one day since the Coast Guard suspended its search for two missing firefighters off of the Florida coast.
 
But, Brian McCluney and Justin Walker’s loved ones are staying strong and received more hope and support at a vigil at Jaycee Beach Park in Vero Beach Friday night.
 
Walker’s mother, Sheila Walker, said if anyone can survive trouble at sea, she feels these two men can.
 
“We believe Justin is on that boat, and we believe he is surviving, and we believe he is coming home, and we believe God will deliver him to us,” Walker said.
 
She has been waiting for good news since August 16th, when her son and his friend Brian, both firefighters with ties to the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County, went missing after a boating trip.
 
Officials said the men left from boat ramps in Port Canaveral on a 23-foot boat to likely head to a fishing spot about 30 miles off the coast.

RELATED: Coast Guard suspends search for two missing firefighters

Dozens of strangers, family, friends and some firefighters attended the vigil. That included Walker’s young niece, Jenai.
 
“I hope they find him,” Jenai said. “He’s really funny and smart and he has helped me a lot.”
 
Sheila Walker has been receiving support from all over the region. 
 
“From Jacksonville to Virginia to everywhere that we’ve been, we’ve had just such an outpouring of love. It’s been incredible.”
 
 Feeling the support at home at the vigil keeps her hopes up.
 
"I’ve lived in this community almost all my life, so it's pretty overwhelming, but a great sense of peace for my heart to see this and for people to come out,” Walker said.
 
Tracy Johnson, who organized the vigil, said she did not know either man, but felt this was her way of offering help since she could not be in a plane or a boat. She hopes the story will continue to spread, so anyone out on the water knows to keep an eye out for the two men.