Hundreds of friends and former classmates joined the family of Makayla Grote to honor her with a vigil in a park near Green Mountain High School.
Twenty-year-old Makayla was killed last week in a stabbing in Longmont, which prosecutors said was carried out by a 15-year-old boy who may be tried as an adult.
But Friday night's gathering had nothing to do with him. It was about Makayla and the outsized impact her short life made on countless others.
A loveless act may have taken Makayla, and yet she was still with the people who gathered-- bringing out love.
"Love will kill fear," said Makayla's great-aunt Kathryn Goodwin. "A lot of people are in fear right now from all this. But perfect love, it'll come out."
"She was an amazing person, that's for sure. And she'll definitely be missed by a lot," said Kaylee Adams, who used to play softball with her.
There were tears, of course, but Makayla's vigil was as unpretentious as she was.
She loved to race, and her racetrack chaplain kept the night on track urging the people who gathered to acknowledge how much of an impact she had on them and to keep her memory alive by paying it forward to others.
In a night of touching moments and remembrances from friends, one illuminating story came from a former classmate who wasn't a close friend. His brother had died back when they went to school together.
"I didn't know who she was. But she just always came and made sure I was okay. And I never got the chance to thank her for that. Because it meant a lot," he said. "I just want to say thank you, Makayla. We all love you."
It was a visible show of support that overwhelmed Makayla's mom.
"She's touched so many people. And I knew she had. But I never realized it was this many," she said.