Residents of the Santa Clarita Valley and students at Hart High School spent their Fourth of July remembering one of their own, Collin Gore.
Gore, a recent graduate of Hart High School, was co-captain of Hart’s Boys Varsity Swimming Team and was planning on “taking his talents” to San Diego State University in the fall.
Hart High School announced on its Twitter page that the school would be holding a candle light vigil for Gore at its school quad Tuesday at 8 p.m. The 2017 Swim Team’s varsity captains asked attendees to wear Hart Swim spirit wear in support of their teammate and friend.
During the brief vigil, Gore’s mother Daleen Buter reflected on her son and thanked the community for their outpouring of support on social media.
“Yes, this is the worst thing that could ever happen, but I find peace in knowing that my son was happy every single day of his 18 years of life,” Buter said, struggling to hold back tears.
Gore’s mother mustered the strength to continue on, just a mere 17 hours after her son’s life was cut short in the tragic crash.
“Someday it’ll be okay. It’ll never be right and it’ll never be the same, but it’ll be okay,” she said.
“He was a happy guy and the best kid and he did everything right. He smiled everyday and was happy everyday. So I have that as my memory forever,” she added.
“Wherever he walked into, he made that a better place,” Hart High Principal Dr. Collyn Nielsen said.
Nielsen, a father himself, worked through the evening to console the group of a few hundred students who came to the vigil to seek guidance and a firmer understanding of the feelings they encountered throughout Independence Day.
“We’re all dealing with a lot of emotions right now,” he said.
“Anger, pain, sadness. These are all normal emotions to go through.”
Hart High School Swim Coach Steve Neale said Gore was always generous with himself and his friends, willing to help anyone who needed him.
“He has that positive attitude where he can take difficult situations and turn it into a fun event for everyone around him,” Neale said. “If Collin was leading the parade you definitely wanted to join in and he had this gift of activating people and getting them to join in.”
Neale remembered how Gore spent time with one of his teammates who was injured in a car accident a year ago by bike riding with him to the pool and helping with his rehabilitation.
“He’s that kind of guy that would reach out and help when it was needed,” he said. “Anything he could do to include anybody and help anybody he was there for him… He was a ‘papa bear’ type.”
The Old Orchard II Shark Swim Team shared news of Gore’s passing on its Facebook page. According to the post, Gore aged out of the team’s 15/16 age group last year.
“I am so saddened to tell you all we have lost one of our own, Collin Gore,” the post read. “We are all so devastated by this loss…. He was full of energy and had an amazing spirit.”
The team is expected to hold its own team memorial and provide meals for the family later in the week.
On Tuesday, friends and classmates of Gore took to social media to remember the high school graduate.