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Candlelight Vigil at Parkwood Farms Draws Large Crowd

Around 100 people gathered at Parkwood Farms to show their support on Nov. 13.

(Editor's Note: This story first appeared on Snellville Patch.)

It was a passionate crowd that gathered at . Parents and children, most of them riders at the therapeutic center, stood together to show their support for Dr. Marilyn Peterson and the farm. 

The farm is in foreclosure, and Peterson and her Board of Directors are hoping to get a temporary halt placed on the eviction process. 

She has a case pending in federal court and claims that she is facing a wrongful foreclosure. (When a home is in foreclosure, payments cannot be made.) A representative for her lawyers with Landguard America said that the mortgage company has made a number of illegal moves, including Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) violations, possible notary law violations, which would invalidate the contract, as well as having "quiet title" issues. 

Peterson is hopeful that there will be a stay on the eviction, as are the parents who gathered around her. 

Snellville resident Anna Maki and her son Eric, 19, have been coming to the center for years. When Eric was younger, doctors recommended that he be institutionalized, and that he would probably never speak. 

His time at the farm has improved his fine motor skills, coordination, level of confidence and social skills, but most importantly, he has found his voice, quite literally. 

"I love Parkwood Farms!" he called out as his mother discussed the situation. "I love Avatar!"

Avatar is the horse he rides every week. 

Councilman Bobby Howard participated in the ceremony, standing in the background until Peterson requested that he say a few words for the people gathered around. 

"The ripple of tonight and the ripple of yesterday will continue on," he said. "The more people in the city who believe in this, the larger the ripples will get, the bigger the wave will be and the more success we’ll have. Never give up; you’ll come back, and the horses will be here, and your children will be on those horses. I’m so proud to be a part of this."

Children spoke out in support of the farm, something that brought giggles to many in the crowd simply because, before their time under Peterson's care, most of them were non-vocal. Now, that couldn't be further from the truth. 

Each of the candles lit among the group represented hope that Parkwood Farms would continue to occupy the space. Rev. Owen Skinner of Tucker First United Methodist led a prayer, and invited others to pray after a moment of silence. 

It was a somber, yet expectant atmosphere. 

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