Growing up, I lived in a small neighborhood in Big Pine Key, Florida. The homes were occupied by families living and working in the Keys. Doors were left unlocked, kids could wander with friends, and neighbors looked out for one another. There was a group of kids that were all around the same age, and Jamie Rowley was one that I was very close to.
On March 12, 2014 my phone started ringing early in the morning. I figured I would call Johnny back after my morning meeting. During my meeting my phone rang over and over. I called him back, and immediately, from the tone of his voice I knew something was wrong. Jamie had gotten hit by a car while jogging and did not survive.
Even though I haven't seen Jamie in years, I never will forget our time together. Sliding down the stairs on an air mattress, rollerblading during Hurricane Andrew, raiding her dad's Frito Lay truck, hearing gangster rap together the first time...the list goes on.
When I moved back to the Keys Jamie had moved, but her younger brother Kevin and mother Judy still lived at the same house only one street up from my childhood home. Kevin wasn't the little boy I remembered. He is an avid fishing guide, diver and one of the best bully netters (basically lobstering at night) I've ever seen! He has grown up to be a kind, loyal and genuine young man.
Since Jaime's passing, runners have taken to the intersection of Claiborne Parkway and Waxpool Road tying old running shoes to a nearby pole in memory of Jaime and have raised over $102,000 for an educational fund for her two daughters. Jamie was a single mother that lived for her children. At times like this we ask why good people are taken from us so suddenly and so soon. After my dad passed it was amazing to witness so many acts of kindness from people all around the world. It didn't ease the pain, but it assured our family that he will never be forgotten, and neither will Jamie. I am grateful to have had her in my life and know that you are in good company.
Please visit http://www.gofundme.com/7hy03o to donate and share with others. Visit the following links for more information on how to help, and ways to keep her memory alive.