(SOURCE: Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era)
By DAN NEPHIN, Staff Writer
“A planned vigil of support for a hospitalized young Columbia Borough girl who apparently tried to kill herself last week turned into a memorial and anti-bullying rally attended by hundreds on Thursday night, a day after she died.
“Many children wore white T-shirts that read “Team Jasmyn” spelled out in pink or red letters as they gathered around the gazebo at Columbia’s Locust Street Park.
“People wore small blue ribbons pinned to their shirts and lit candles in honor of Jasmyn Smith, who was 11 or 12 years old.
“Andrew Phiel, Jasmyn’s uncle, had helped organize the vigil but spoke only briefly to the crowd, which included Columbia High School football team members.
“‘You have no idea what this means to our whole entire family. It has been just so amazing, everybody, their support, showing all their love. It has been just the most amazing thing that we’ve seen,’ Phiel said, thanking the audience for their support.
“‘Jasmyn loved nothing more than having people get together. She loved being around a big crowd, so I know that she would enjoy this, definitely,’ he said before asking the audience to light candles.
“After the memorial, he recalled his niece as a bright and amazing girl who liked softball, cheerleading and hanging out with her friends.
“‘She had just a gorgeous, gorgeous heart. She had the biggest heart in the world,’ he said.
“A fund has been set up in Jasmyn’s name ‘to bring awareness to bullying,’ Phiel told the crowd, but he declined to elaborate on details of her death afterward.
“Columbia patrolman David Souders, relaying a message from Chief Jack Brommer at the police station before the rally, said that ‘it’s an open investigation, and we’re not able to comment on exactly what’s going on.’
“Phiel said his sister was ‘really broken up about it, as anybody could expect.’ A woman at the home of Jasmyn’s family said they did not wish to speak.
“At the rally, after Phiel spoke, the Rev. Mary Anne Kingsborough, pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Columbia, where Jasmyn was baptized, led the audience in prayer.
“‘Be with everyone,’ she asked of God, ‘especially the children who suffer.’
“The audience responded, ‘Hear our prayer.’
“Pastor Wayne Scott, of the Ashely Tabernacle Church of God in Columbia, told the audience, ‘We’ve got to do more because there are more (Jasmyns) out there.’
“It wasn’t just about bullying … .” Click here to read the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era article in full.