The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Candlelight vigil recognizes car accident victim

Candlelight+vigil+recognizes+car+accident+victim

By Dylan Bradley/editor-in-chief

TCC police officer Keith Foster came to work early every day to go to the student activities window and speak with LeJuana Montford, someone he considered his little sister.

They talked about their weekends, the stupid things boys were doing and all the little things that one tells a sibling.

“Her and my baby sister are the same age, so we would talk about everything under the sun,” he said. “If she had questions, I had answers.”

After Montford died in a car accident Oct. 16 on Interstate 20, Foster joined dozens of other mourners who came to the South Campus library Oct. 22 to pay their respects.

With the Montford family seated, the ceremony began with a prayer then a song performed by South student Diamond Moss. Purple balloons were released at the end of the ceremony to signify LeJuana Montford’s memory. Photos by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian
With the Montford family seated, the ceremony began with a prayer then a song performed by South student Diamond Moss. Purple balloons were released at the end of the ceremony to signify LeJuana Montford’s memory. Photos by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian

They came to share memories of Montford, light candles in her memory and release balloons in farewell.

Two tables were set up by the African-American Student Organization, who decorated them with candles, flowers and portraits of Montford.

“She supported us, so we supported her right back,” South student and AASO vice president Taylor Gaines said. “As soon as we heard about it, doing something was automatic. It had to be done. This is nothing.”

Co-workers gathered in small groups before the vigil began, remembering Montford for her bright smile, beautiful personality and her influence on students and employees across the campus.

South student and president of the Latin American Student Success Organization Juan Silva visited Montford frequently.

“I’ve never seen her have a bad day. I never saw her mad or upset about anything,” he said. “She was always smiling, and every time you would go into the office or pass by the office, she would greet you even if it was early in the morning or late in the evening.”

Co-workers who celebrated Montford’s 21st birthday with her the weekend before said she never let the office go silent. She always needed to be singing or dancing. In her time away from work, she loved writing and had a celebrity gossip blog.

“She always brought an energy to the office that we’re now lacking and definitely missing,” South student Alex Roper said. “She was very bubbly.”

Montford’s family, co-workers, and friends gathered to honor her with song, prayer and shared memories. The balloons and shirt pins were purple, Montford’s favorite color. Photos by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian
Montford’s family, co-workers, and friends gathered to honor her with song, prayer and shared memories. The balloons and shirt pins were purple, Montford’s favorite color.

As people slowly filled the space, collecting purple ribbons to pin on their shirts, Roper spoke about the absence the entire campus would feel in the student activities window.

“She was more of a friend than a co-worker. She wasn’t someone you just saw at work,” Roper said. “Every morning when I was getting ready, I was definitely looking forward to seeing her in the window and passing by and seeing her smile and coming into the office and starting my day with her energy.”

As the sky slowly darkened, the groups of people sharing their memories merged into one gathering. A line of chairs reserved for family slowly filled. When Montford’s mother took her seat, the ceremony began with a prayer.

With candles lit and balloons in hand, attendees listened to a song performed by South student Diamond Moss and then a closing prayer, after which the balloons were released.

“We can still feel her, we can still see her, we can still hear her and I can still feel her touch,” South success coach Samantha Estrada said. “I think anybody that met her, no matter how long they knew her, we can still feel her now.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian