BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. -- "We know there is truly a heaven or Mandy would not be gone," Donna Willard said Saturday, mastering her emotions as she spoke of the late Amanda K. "Mandy" Bowders to a crowd gathered in Blue Ridge Summit at a garden dedicated in Bowders' honor.
It has been nearly two years since a sledding accident claimed the life of 19-year-old Mandy Bowders, but to those whose lives she affected, it was as if Mandy was there Saturday night, smiling and laughing while the community honored her spirit through stories, song and prayer.
Mandy's mother, Lori Bowders, had no idea how many people were touched by her daughter's sunny, bright personality until they surrounded her to dedicate the garden.
"I never really knew just how many people Mandy touched in her short life," she said. "I am in awe."
Almost 100 people gathered at the Blue Ridge Summit Fire Hall to remember the girl who friends and family described as humble yet full of love.