By Jill Fox
Parkland and Coral Springs communities are preparing for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy’s annual commemoration by looking for ways to do their part.
When Parkland resident Sarah Sharek read an article about “Light Up The Night,” she loved how multiple neighborhoods were doing something in memory of the victims.
She, too, wanted luminaries for her neighborhood in MiraLago and decided to purchase them for any interested neighbors.
The Wang family, who live in the Parkland community of MiraLago, lost their son, Peter, in the MSD shooting. He died while holding a door open to save others on February 14, 2018.
“I didn’t want the Wang family to think that we as a community had forgotten about their loss,” said Sharek, who teaches her two young sons kindness and wanted to show them something positive can come out of pain.
Soon after, neighbors from MiraLago’s sister communities wanted to participate as well.
“When people were being so gracious, offering to pay for the luminaries, I thought, why don’t we do a fundraiser in Peter’s memory for Marjory Stoneman Douglas Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC)” said Sharek.
A member of the JROTC, Peter planned on attending United States Military Academy West Point.
All funds raised help the cadets with equipment and supplies for competition and in the classroom, in addition to scholarships awarded by the Booster club.
In 2020, three cadets received $1,000 scholarships in the names of the three JROTC Cadets killed: Peter Wang, Martin Duque, and Alaina Petty. The awards were given to those who best represented the spirits lost on February 14, 2018.
Sharek felt the community really stepped up by collecting $500 in two days.
“I thought maybe we could raise the entire $1,000 for one of the scholarships, and on Monday, we did.”
Then her focus shifted to raising enough to cover all three scholarships. By Friday, they had raised over $3,700.
“Our community’s generosity is amazing,” said Sharek. “I am so happy we came together to make such an impact.”
Participating residents should light luminaries at the end of their driveways on February 14 at 8 p.m. and stand in silence for six minutes and 20 seconds to remember the 17 victims.
Anyone interested in donating to the MSD JROTC Booster Club can do so with Zelle using [email protected].
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Advertising from the University of Miami. During college, Fox enjoyed working at Walt Disney World. She loves living in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 10 and Randi, 7.
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