It was the second time in recent weeks that a Suwanee neighborhood has known extreme emotions.
This time, it had a happy ending, when brothers Ben and Henry Cleary returned to Suwanee at midday Sunday from Austin, Texas, accompanied by their mother, Theresa Nash.
A nationwide Amber Alert was issued December 27 for the boys, who were visiting with their father. Nash became suspicious when the father, Daniel Cleary of Roswell, did not call her on December 22, as required by their custody agreement.
However, the same neighborhood was plunged into mourning in late November when resident Jean Strickland, of a Lake Pass Lane address, was killed in a head-on crash on nearby McGinnis Ferry Road. Her son Mike Strickland, who lived with her, was seriously injured in the crash. A police investigation into the crash is still ongoing.
On Sunday, the prayers in Town Center Park were of thanks. Allison Harrington, a neighbor of Nash and her sons, led the event.
She read from Psalm 100, then told the people assembled, "We have lots of neighbors ... that's what Suwanee is all about. It's one of the things that make our small city great."
Harrington also said, "We need to pray for Dan (Cleary, the father who is being held by authorities for the abduction), that the Lord may touch him. ... All of us need prayers."
Nash and her sons arrived at the prayer event at midafternoon. She was elated to have her sons back home safely, but obviously overwhelmed by the ordeal. In thanks, Nash ran off a long list of law enforcement and media organizations that were involved with the search for her sons.
"I'll get lots of sleep tonight," she said.
She noted that her sons were "excited" to be back home, but never realized the "gravity" of the situation they were in. "We need to stop focusing on the gravity."
For Henry Cleary, returning home was fun. Saturday was his eighth birthday.
He excitedly told a friend Sunday: "Channel 2 Action News was at my house."
-- What is your reaction to the Cleary situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.