It was an incredible show of support for little Jessica Ridgeway girl.
More than two thousand gathered at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada to remember the life of Jessica.
Most wore her favorite color purple to honor her memory and celebrate her life.
While you count the number of years she lived on two hands, you can’t measure the countless lives she impacted.
"She brightened the day, brightened the room, brightened life,” said Rick Long, Pastor of Grace Church in Arvada.
Jessica Ridgeway, who has captured the heart of the nation, was remember through the eyes of those who knew her best.
“Her smile and laugh would light up my life. When I was having a bad day, she would lift me up with her nonsense and silly stories,” said Jessica’s Aunt Becca Ridgeway, who called the ten-year-old her “mini-me”.
The little girls’ family said she had an above average love for people and animals. They played a video of her with her little puppy, telling her four-legged friend that she loved him.
Loved ones say the ten-year-old’s life was cut too short, but that she made the most of every minute.
“Jessica loved to show her love for everyone; that’s what Sarah (Jessica’s mother) kept telling me,” said Pastor Rick Long.
Hundreds of friends, family, and strangers were filled with mixed emotions as they celebrated her life, and tried to make sense of a senseless act.
"I cannot help but have joy and relief in my heart because she is safe and sound in a place where no one can ever hurt her. While I would love to have her here with us to watch another softball game, heaven is the only other place I would want her to be,” said Jessica’s close friend Beverly Sternburg.
The pastor urged everyone impacted by the tragedy to exchange our hurt for hope in order to carry on Jessica’s legacy of joy.
“Sarah has told me how Jessica brought so much joy into the lives of those she knew, that’s the legacy. We cannot let horrendous actions of individuals or groups of individuals rob us of that joy,” said Pastor Rick Long.
“We love you Jessica and will miss you every day,” family member Heidi Caswell.
Pastor Rick Long shared admirable characteristics of the ten-year-old. He said she was an entrepreneur and was the most joyful part of the Ridgeway family. Loved ones say the child cared for everyone while loving to swim and decorate for the holidays.
Long said there was “no way to remember all her incredible qualities” during the service, but that her legacy will live on if we all “find joy by living life”, just like little Jessica.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also spoke during the memorial. He wore a purple shirt in memory of the inspiring child.
“I will wear this shirt proudly as long as it holds together and it will be part of how I remember Jessica,” said Governor Hickenlooper.
The Governor said someone at work asked him why he was wearing a bright purple shirt. He said “It’s for Jessica. They just smiled and then their eyes filled up. There is such a fine line between joy and sorrow,” said Governor Hickenlooper.
Many talked during the service about the outpouring of support from the community and nation during this tragedy. The family says it’s been their strength during this tough time as well as their faith in God and that Jessica is now in a better place.
We were all encouraged to continue the outreach and keep sending prayers their way.
The Westminster Chief of Police also reiterated tonight that they will not stop until they find justice for Jessica.
Ridgeway was abducted from her Westminster neighborhood on October 5th. One week later it was confirmed that her body was found in an open space in Arvada.
Investigators are still looking for tips, just call 303-658-4336.
If you would like to donate to help Jessica’s family out, just visit www.JessicaRidgeway.com
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