To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die.
~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground
I was there the night Pier 34 collapsed in Philadelphia 10 years ago. What happened was so tragic and shocking I'll never shake it from my memory.
I talked to survivors that night pulled from the Delaware , wet, cold, stunned. But for days and weeks following I interviewed the families of the three beautiful young women who died. I learned the stories, the loves, the lives of DeAnn White, Monica Rodriquez and Jean Marie Ferraro.
Over the years, I've had a connection with the White family. I've admired their determination to remember DeAnn through scholarships to help other inspired, smart young women make it in the world.
Still, somehow I'd never made it to their annual Legacy of Love. This year I had to go.
That's DeAnn's mom, Blanche White-Toole. You can see she's a proud strong woman.
The program book says DeAnn's favorite color was red. Her family says she would have loved Facebook because she had so many friends and that her favorite poem was on her journal. It was called "Don't Quit".
I feel like I've come to know DeAnn through her family. Somehow her personality, her zest for life is still with us. I feel saddened but grateful to be able to share a hug with those she loved today.
You can make a donation to the DeAnn White scholarship fund through the Philadelphia Foundation.