CINCINNATI (FOX19) - One year after Gabby Rodriguez was killed in a hit and run, her family and friends are honoring her by working to start a foundation.
For the people who were closest to the Western Hills High School student, it is hard to believe that much time has passed.
They have spent the last 365 days wishing and hoping that the driver of the car that hit Gabby and did not stop will come forward. That, Gabby’s parents said, would help them in their healing.
“Our daughter was senselessly taken from us, and our family’s just never gonna be the same," Shawna Rodriguez, Gabby’s mother, said. “I don’t believe that Gabby’s ever going to be able to rest fully in peace until justice is served.”
On the one year anniversary of her devastating death, Sept. 10, loved ones gathered on the Western Hills softball field that Gabby, a player, loved so dearly. They released balloons and lanterns into the sky in honor of her.
Gabby’s parents say the support has been outstanding and has helped them survive even the darkest days.
“It’s something our family will never be able to say thank you enough for," Shawna said.
To keep Gabby’s memory alive, they are launching a softball scholarship, and they are working on forming a foundation that would focus on pedestrian safety.
“Get some help in focusing on hot spots so to speak, areas that need crosswalks, that need signage, that need lights," Shawna said.
While they sometimes struggle with the possibility they may never know exactly what happened to Gabby and why, they take comfort in knowing that her passing could prevent the loss of another life.
“I think that she would be really proud of her parents, her brothers, how strong they’ve been and the amount of work that they’re also putting in to making sure that this doesn’t happen again," Deanne Atkins, a family friend, said.
Gabby’s parents are expected to be part of a pedestrian safety town hall taking place on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Evanston Recreation Center.
There is also a fundraiser for the foundation and scholarship set for Saturday. The event, a softball tournament, will be at the Western Hills High School baseball field starting at 10 a.m. Adults can pay $10 to participate and $5 for kids. Children under the age of five are free.
There will also be food, drinks, and T-Shirts for sale.