'We will move forward': Family of Tara Roe releases statements
The Okotoks, Alta native was among the more than 60 killed in a Las Vegas music festival mass shooting
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The Okotoks mom, education assistant and model, killed in last week's horrific Las Vegas mass shooting, is being remembered as a loving woman who put others first.
Tara Roe was in Las Vegas with her husband Zach Smith when the shooting erupted at the Harvest Musical Festival near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The pair were separated and a frantic search began for Roe's whereabouts after the rampage ended.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and outpouring of love and support from both those near to us and from complete strangers from across North America," said Zach Roe.
"I am so incredibly touched by everyone’s support, which has included everything from financial donations, meals for my family, to the generosity of the Calgary Flames who are bringing my boys to a game and a practice so they can meet the team. You honestly have no idea how much this all means to me, to my boys, and most importantly, what it would have meant to Tara.
"Our heartbreak is deep, and these incredible expressions of love and support are helping us get through this senseless tragedy.
"My children and I thank everyone as we continue to struggle with the loss of Tara, a person who was the rock of our family, an amazing friend to so many people, a person dedicated to the community, and someone who – if she were here today – would be doing everything she could for people in a similar circumstance. I don’t think she had any idea how important she was to so many people in our community and beyond.
"My kids and I are forever in debt to Tara, for making us who we are today, and my promise to her is that I will lead our family by the example she set for us, and ensure her memory lives forever in our hearts.”
The parents of Tara, Mark and Brenda Smith, along with her sister Tami Spiropoulos, also released a statment.
“Our hearts are broken as we struggle with how we go on from here without our Tara. We had Tara for 34 years and the many memories we have of her will be ours forever.
"We remember her as an active, young girl who enjoyed dancing, swimming, and especially being at Clear Lake—her favourite summer spot. As a young woman, she was kind and caring, always looking for ways to help family and friends and others in our community.
"Her career led her to work with children with autism, where her star really shone brightly. She remained loyal to many lifelong friends, was always a wonderful sister, auntie, cousin and granddaughter.
"As in any tragedy, with something as evil as this, some goodness always somehow seems to come through. The outpouring of support from great family and friends, but also complete strangers, have helped this to be even bearable.
"With so many acts of kindness, no matter how big or small, they mean so much. There are no words to express our heartfelt gratitude.
"We would especially like to extend our sincere thanks to the wonderful people of WestJet, who have not once left our side and have treated us like family.
"This tragedy will not be what defines us. We will move forward with the memory of Tara as our strength."
The family said several gofundme accounts have been set up for Tara's husband and childrent. They're asking people who want to contribute to donate to the “Expenses for Zach and the Kids” account.