When my family and I moved to Homewood a little less than 5 years ago, I knew it was special, but truthfully I didn’t know how special. I knew that people loved to walk their dogs, ALOT. I knew they enjoyed strolling down to the local ice cream shop and I saw families gathering in each other’s yards as the days got long in the summer. Essentially Mayberry.
Where it began
One of those long summer days, my family made their way down to a long time friends home. I happened to get caught in conversation in a nearby yard with another group of moms who had gathered to chat and enjoy a glass of wine. I met several ladies who I had not known since we were new. One of these ladies was Robyn Herring. Where do I begin with Robyn? She was inviting, spoke with a calm voice, and made me laugh. Her smile brightened the space we were standing in. We realized that her oldest and my twins were the same age which made the encounter even sweeter. She also lived on the street that backed up to mine.
My twins became frequent visitors to her home. I learned about her life, her career, that we shared so many interests like our love for Auburn. As the years carried on we would see each other walking down the street, stop and talk, and always pick up where we had left off. She was a kind friend and someone I enjoyed getting to know.
Everything can change in an instant
On Monday, April 26, 2021, Robyn Herring was tragically killed in a hit and run car chase In just a split second she was gone. As I sat in my bed, winding down from the hectic day, my phone rang. Typically people don’t call me after 8:00 p.m. So I answered. Then and there I began sobbing as I heard what happened to our dear Robyn. My heart immediately broke for the two girls that were now left behind. That night, as calls were made to teachers, principals, friends, pastors, family, our Homewood community secretly began to rally. Plans were already in motion for food, arrangements for the girls, future funds, etc.
By sunrise the news had spread all over Homewood. Not everyone knew Robyn but everyone knew that a fellow Homewood member was no longer with us. Our community came together in a way I had not seen. News crews came, purple bows were placed on mailboxes, businesses and restaurants were donating all their proceeds for the day to a fund for the girls. The amount of prayers prayed over the next several days could not have been less than 1 million. We prayed for peace. We prayed for justice and we prayed for each other as hundreds of peoples hearts were breaking.
Community is everything
See, I knew Homewood was special, but I didn’t realize how special. My daughter is in the class of one of Robyn’s girls. Before each of those kids arrived to class the following day a plan had been put into action. The kids were greeted by counselors and administrative staff. They were told of the tragedy and given time to cry and hug. They were given ways to cope with loss and ideas on how best to handle their friends’ return. Our school also sent a letter out to the entire student body letting them know how much Robyn meant to this community and what resources were available to help cope with this tragedy. This special community also gathered together to host a birthday party for one of the girls. Her birthday is Cinco de Mayo. Businesses donated treats and local artists donated their time to help the kids create a fun event for her.
That Friday, many people attended an event hosted by the Homewood City Schools Foundation named Homewood Grown. We were all tired and sad, and exhausted from the week and the memorial. But in that moment our speaker stood up and reminded us that our community is just that. A community. It is important no matter where you live to be in a community full of people of different races, backgrounds, religions, and lifestyles. None of that matters when it is time to rally together and love each other. Love always wins. As he ended his speech and the sun set, it was purple, Robyn’s favorite color. It shined so brightly in the most beautiful shade. Her legacy will live on here in Homewood and as we pick up our lives we will never forget the importance of friends, family, and our community.