UVALDE, Texas — A survivor from the 2018 mass shooting at Santa Fe High School is hosting an event for the Uvalde community as a way to bridge two Texas cities touched by tragedy.
Jordyn Boutwell recalls the dark of May 18, 2018, when she was a freshman in art class at Santa Fe High School. A gunman killed eight students, two teachers and injured more than a dozen other people.
“I knew my life would never be the same and it quite frankly hasn’t been the same, but I’ve understood that overtime I’ve been able to process it a lot easier. I can let it affect my life or I can make an impact on the world,” Boutwell said.
Boutwell has since shared her story of survival through a safety presentation called “See Something Say Something.” She’s also become certified in identifying the red flags of someone experiencing mental illness.
Boutwell remembers the morning of May 24, 2022, when she learned of the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde just over 300 miles away.
Twenty-one families laid their loved ones to rest following Texas’ deadliest mass shooting incident at a school.
“So when I heard about the tragedy in Uvalde I was driving past my high school from work and it just kind of hit, everything hit at once, it’s another Texan school but this time it’s kids,” Boutwell said.
Boutwell wasted no time and figured she needs to do something meaningful in light of the devastation and her personal experience dealing with the trauma of a mass casualty event.
“I went through something that is the unimaginable and I was at 14 so I can’t imagine what these nine-years-olds and 10-year-olds went through and faced and so I came home and told my mom I want to do something for these kids,” she said.
With the help of family, friends and the Santa Fe residents, Boutwell held several fundraisers and garnered the support of over 20 companies to organize an event to help heal the Uvalde community.
“We’re going to have rock walls, carnival games, petting zoos. As well as right next to us there’s going to be a prayer group. We will have counselors on site,” Boutwell said.
There will also be plenty of food vendors for families to enjoy. But beyond the amenities is a message Boutwell hopes is conveyed: “There is a light, there is good in the world even when it feels like there’s not and so over time it does get easier and with community support it helps a little bit as well.
Boutwell hopes to one day register her Stronger Together non-profit organization as a way to continue advocating for safer communities.
The community wide event in Uvalde hosted by Santa Fe goes from 12- p.m. Saturday at 215 Veterans Ln. (Uvalde County Fairplex).