SPRINGFIELD, Ore - Friends and family of 17-year-old Sherry Varo brought flowers to the spot along 51st and Main Street in Springfield where she was killed one year ago.
Just down the road, in the Varo home, loved ones gathered to celebrate her life.
"It's been hard without her," said Kerry Varo about his sister. "But I don't know, I know she's in a better place than we are right now."
Family and friends cooked, cleaned, and prepared for a mass in her memory.
They've been praying to a shrine of flowers and pictures as part of a Catholic tradition, the Rosary Novena.
"We pray for nine days so the body can rest," said Sherry's brother Kim Varo. "And then on the 10th day we have a mass. This symbolizes for us to just never forget her. Because if we put away her pictures and stuff, it's as if she were never here."
People haven't forgot. Sherry's death was taken into condideration for plans to build a safety crosswalk at 51st and Main Street where she was struck by two cars.
In the past 13 years, 7 others have died with a half mile of that area and 48 have been injured. The crosswalk project is scheduled to be complete this summer.
Sherry's older brother Kim said this past year, Sherry would have graduated and wanted to move to Mexico. With the help of donations, her family was able to fulfill at least part of that dream.:She was buried in a small town about 4 hours from Mexico City where her mother, Silvia, is from.
"Sometimes I'm in the kitchen and I feel her with me," Silvia said.
She said her daughter was her best friend and they loved to cook. Now, loved ones cook a large meal to remember Sherry, and to thank those who helped them through such a hard time.
"I want to say thank you God for giving me a nice girl," says Silvia. "Now she is not mine anymore and now she is for him."
Family offers thanks to community in Spanish and English