A father's grief-stricken message to a community in mourning
The life of the party. The energy in the room. A girl who always made her presence felt.
This is how a despondent Fred Guttenberg described his late 14-year-old daughter Jaime during a candlelight vigil in Parkland in honor of the shooting victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Jaime was remembered on social media as an enthusiastic gymnast and dancer. Her Facebook memorial page featured a group photo of Jaime and fellow members of the DTX dance team at the Dance Theatre Academy in Coral Springs, where she studied.
The outpouring of love for the teen on social media has been constant. Dancers from California, Illinois, New York and other states around the U.S. performing in competitions pledged to wear orange ribbons in honor of Jaime, whose favorite color was orange.
Her father, Fred, told the Miami Herald that Jaime was part of the Best Buddies program, always stood up against bullies and volunteered for the Friendship Initiative, a program that helps people with disabilities.
“She was the energy in our house,” he said. “She was silly, and serious when she needed to be. She was funny and energetic. Our home will be quieter now.”
Her aunt, Abbie Guttenberg Youkilis, said in a Facebook post that Jaime wanted to be a mother and occupational therapist when she grew up.
But Youkilis’ post, which was written as an open letter addressed to “Dear America,” also expressed anger at the National Rifle Association.
“Fred and Jen are the world’s most loving and over-protective parents but they could not protect Jaime from the sickness that has gripped our country. Unless we change, nobody can protect us. My friends and fellow citizens, your guns are not protecting you. Your guns are killing our kids.”