Aztec shooting victim Casey Jordan remembered
Joy Wang and Meg Hilling
December 18, 2017 05:18 PM
AZTEC, N.M. -- With black and orange balloons adorning the room, and the memory of a promising life cut tragically short in their hearts, hundreds gathered at San Juan College Sunday morning to remember Aztec shooting victim Casey Jordan.
Many of them were cheerleaders from all over San Juan County, and the rest of the seats were filled with others in attendance to support the family and tight-knit Four Corners community. The other victim in the Aztec High shooting, Paco Fernandez, was laid to rest on Friday.
It was easy to see that Jordan was passionate about cheerleading, but also about life in general -- she was always extremely positive.
"It's actually very representative of who Casey was," said John Faverino, a friend of the Jordan family. "She was very active in the community. She thought about everybody. She really thought about the people who tend to be forgotten a lot."
Jordan was born in Durango on April 18, 2000. Since then, her loved ones say, things were never the same for the family that loved her and the people lucky enough to get to know her.
David Williams shared one of those memories of Jordan with those in attendance on Sunday.
"We will always have her bubbly memories deep within us. Like the time when she and Tori bought 10 Little Ceasar's pizzas and she screamed the Krusty Krab pizza song from 'SpongeBob' while prancing to her car," he said.
She loved pineapple, elephants and her cheer team. Her favorite colors were red and purple, and family friends said she had a way of getting what she wanted. That includes reminding her brother, Daniel, that she was small but mighty, according to James Foster, who recited a story that drew laughs from those in attendance.
"He comes home from wrestling practice, he's got his head gear on, his singlet on -- he's all decked out. He had all these moves in his little tool box, and he looks at her and gets in his little stance and he's ready to go. And she just looked at him kind of funny like, 'Here I come' and she does a flying elbow.
"Wrestling season was over."
It's moments like those that her loved ones are holding onto. In a sea of cheerleaders, many with white bows on their had, it's hard to know Jordan wasn't there with them and wearing hers.
"We are left with the joyful hope she shared, and we look to the fine day when we will see her again -- all weariness gone, with her big, bright smile, grinning from dimple to dimple," Williams said.
While Jordan was taken too soon, her cheer coach, Debbie Johnson, said there's still a lot of work left to be done.
"Everything we have can be taken from us. Everything," she said. "They can steal your car, they can take your money, they can take your beauty. Everything you've learned is yours. So you have to hold that. It is precious."
Jordan's family provided the following statement:
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our community and state for their care, compassion and support for our daughter, Casey. Because of the outpouring of love our family has received, we have quickly learned that her angel wings spread further than any of us realized. The breadth of her impact extends beyond our wonderful community.
"She also touched the lives of others throughout our state and country. Please know that every gesture and kind word is greatly appreciated and is helping us as we begin our healing. At this time, we kindly request that you respect our time to mourn, heal and connect with our community, friends and family.”
Joy Wang and Meg Hilling
Updated: December 18, 2017 05:18 PM
Created: December 17, 2017 01:11 PM
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