by Lisa Tome
Kami Ring was "kind and good and a friend to everybody."
That was the message that Charlestown Elementary School principal Rose Clark, was working to convey.
But an hour before the formal dedication to honor Ring, Clark couldn't contain her tears.
On the anniversary of the death of Ring, who was murdered June 10, 2013, near Port Deposit, Charlestown Elementary was formally unveiling and dedicating "Kami's Butterfly Garden", a community effort to remember Ring's life. "I'm going to tell the children that we are gathering to remember a friend who died because her body stopped working...I am going to tell them we are doing this because every adult in our school community cares about the children. And if something happens to them, we think of them forever," said Clark.
"I taught her for two years. She loved music and was fantastically musical. She's a child you'd never forget," said Charlestown music teacher Bill Moon. "Anytime she had a chance to sing, she lit up. It was something she enjoyed doing. I've done this for many years and taught hundreds of kids. Kami had an electric smile. When she walked into the classroom, she lit up. She was always ready for music."
Landscaper Chris Tome designed and built the garden.
"My kids go here. They went to Boys and Girls Club with her. They (Finnegan, 7 and Sadie, 5) helped with the garden. When the school asked me to help with this, it meant a lot to me. My kids knew her," said Tome.
Chuck Ritz of The Hope and Peace Foundation, didn't know Kami Ring. But in her honor, Ritz organized two motorcycle rides which raised $650 towards the cost of the garden. They also donated to Boys and Girls Clubs in her honor. "We got 165 riders for her with a day's notice," said Ritz.
Kim Edler, who was Ring's teacher last year, talked to the entire school about her former student. "I was lucky to be her teacher. She was a friend to all. She wanted everyone to get along and be friends together. All of you should know how special you are. If you see someone alone, be their friend," said Edler.
Before the dedication ended, the school chorus sang several selections. All the students were also asked to sing Kami's favorite song "This Little Light of Mine". The event concluded with every student and staff member blowing bubbles in her honor.
Those who made Kami's Butterfly Garden possible:
Landscaper and designer Chris Tome, Jim Gawthrop of York Building Products who supplied boulders, Holly Hill Farms who supplied nursery items, Cole Peterson of American Home and Hardware who provided garden stones, Lowes of North East and Charlestown PTA for providing benches, landscaping materials from Vannoy Contractors, concrete work from Mike Burton, and imprinting work from Robert Crouch.