MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Eyes wet and hearts heavy, family members, friends, faculty and students gathered at Rutland High School to mourn a great loss, and say goodbye to a beloved member of the Hurricane community.
“All I could think about was the world just lost a wonderful person,” said Heather’s former teammate Alicia Ford. “When something like this happens, it’s just devastating to anyone around here she just touched so many people,” said another fellow student Spellman Gammie.
A senior this year with so much life ahead of her, Heather Harrod died in a terrible car accident on I-475 and I-75 just Tuesday.
“She was the best person I know. She was so kind and bubbly, she just could light up a room,” Ford said of her friend.
Many were still in shock that their dear friend, teammate and classmate didn’t return to school on Wednesday.
“You know, I didn’t want to believe it because I didn’t accept it. One of my friends said, ‘bro she’s gone’ and I said, ‘what do you mean she’s gone’. It finally hit me and I lost it,” said a close friend to Heather James Hurley.
“I was telling myself like this is not our Heather, this is not the Heather we know,” Ford said in tears.
Candles, candy, a soccer ball and cleats, and her favorites–sunflowers, all enshrined the place that was once her parking space.
“There’s no other way to put it but she was ‘Heather’,” said Hurley. “She was just that person that I could count on,” he continued.
It was a tough first night to get through for the Rutland community, but they stood strongly in support of one another because they know what Heather would’ve said if she were still alive.
“She would tell me to pick up my head and keep on moving, act as if she were still there,” Hurley said.
Though she’s passed on, her spirit remains with the many people she touched. “She’s always going to be with us radiating no matter what happens,” said Gammie.
There wasn’t a dry eye within a mile of Wednesday night’s vigil at Rutland High School. Many students said they felt lost at school that day but being able to share and remember Heather Harrod together at the vigil was a big help.
The Harrod family was so appreciative and so moved by the overwhelming love and support they saw from the entire Hurricane family. The school principal has asked that people continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.