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Lei of Aloha from Hawaii presented to grieving Uvalde families, community

Lei Aloha of World Peace traveled to Uvalde to offer their support to grieving families.

UVALDE, Texas — Support from near and far continues in Uvalde. On Saturday, the Hawaiian nonprofit Lei of Aloha for World Peace traveled to Uvalde to gift a one-mile-long "Lei of Aloha", made of ti-leaves woven together. 

As the community gathered at Town Square in Uvalde, families of victims were gifted leis, each leaf woven with a prayer. 

Sister Celeste "CC" Cabral said she was able to pray with and console five to eight families members, who lost loved ones in the mass shooting. 

"In the 23 years I’ve been a nun, I’ve never experienced anything like this," Sister Celeste said. "I came for the hearts of the people that are in sorrow, to bring love and light and our aloha spirit." 

During the ceremony, family members of the victims helped carry the lei to the standing wired fenced adorned with messages of hope. 

Credit: KENS 5

Community members called said the ceremony provide some healing. 

"It was a beautiful thing, knowing that they traveled across the ocean just to be here and try to support and show their love and respect," said Rolando Arizmendi, who lost his great niece, Ellie Garcia, in the Robb Elementary School tragedy. 

Saturday was Ellie's 10th birthday. Members of the visiting Hawaiian nonprofit honored her with a birthday song and her own lei of aloha, carried to her cross by Arizmendi and his son. 

"She would have loved it, she would’ve absolutely loved it, all the love that they’re getting its being showed," Arizmendi said. 

He said Ellie was a beautiful girl who loved dancing and making TikTok videos.
Ellie also had a strong faith. In one TikTok video, she said "Jesus he died for us, so when we die, we'll be up there for him."

Arizmendi said that video keeps him going. 

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