Remembering Caylin: Community gathers for 10-year-old hit-and-run victim’s funeral
AUDUBON, Minn. -- Steve Parenteau, Caylin Donovan's grandfather, spoke at her funeral service with a tie knotted around his head."I'm the one you can all thank, blame, accuse of giving her her fashion sense," he said, adding that he taught Caylin...
AUDUBON, Minn. -- Steve Parenteau, Caylin Donovan’s grandfather, spoke at her funeral service with a tie knotted around his head.
“I’m the one you can all thank, blame, accuse of giving her her fashion sense,” he said, adding that he taught Caylin how to dress when she was 2 “and she kept that sense of fashion ever since … this is for her,” Parenteau gestured toward the tie on his head.
“Goofy” was the word that came to mind for Pastor Dean Grier.
“In a world that does everything to stay the same, Caylin stood out … she was a joy to be around,” Grier said.
Caylin Donovan, 10, was killed in a hit-and-run crash the evening of Friday, June 10, near Lake Mille Lacs. She was in the area visiting extended family.
For 10 days, the family suffered with questions as police searched for witnesses.
A GoFundMe page to help the family cover funeral expenses had a goal of $10,000. Tuesday, the day of Kaylin’s funeral, it stood at just under $9,500 raised.
Two people from Hastings, believed to be connected to the crash, were arrested. Steve Lee Meier, 44, and Deborah Lynn Chandler, 45, remained jailed, awaiting formal charges.
Grier said at the funeral service he knows many want to be angry, but that’s not what Caylin would’ve wanted.
“There is darkness in the world,” Grier said. “There’s darkness in this world when somebody can hit a little girl on the side of the road and not come back to explain what happened.”
Caylin was never part of the darkness.
“After hearing the news, my first thought was, ‘Caylin, you could light up a room like nobody else,’” Grier said, pausing to hold back tears.
Caylin never tried to be anyone other than her silly self with her mismatched clothes and a “flair for the dramatic.”
Parenteau spoke of the “cow coat” Caylin loved to wear, black and white resembling the farm animal.
An estimated 250 mourning family members and community members attended the service, some decked out in bright, mismatched red, white and blue outfits in Caylin’s honor -- the Fourth of July was her favorite holiday.
The girl will be in the hearts of many when bright fireworks light up the dark sky on Independence Day.
Parenteau urged everyone to remember the light when it’s gone -- to not let it go out completely. “This will be the hardest year … there is a hole in my heart,” Parenteau said. “Moms and dads, love your kids ... When your kids bring you that thing they treasure, and they’ve got that hopeful look in their eye, don’t let that wonder go out of their eyes.”