'Our motivation to keep Amber present in our lives is all the stronger'

BRATTLEBORO — The year 2023 has been a successful one for the Walk for Amber Scholarship. Between the walk and raffle on June 4 and our Welcome Center fundraiser on June 24, we raised just over $4,000.

On June 15, we awarded three Amber Bernier Scholarships - you go Madison, Ella, and Brooke! -bringing our total to 57 since giving out the first scholarship in 2004.

We are so grateful to our community for all the support and care and to donors for supporting these events. And we are so proud of our scholarship recipients who by their character and determination do great honor to our daughter's memory.

Finally, we would like to share our remarks prior to the walk. We hope it gives a sense of our journey as we grieve and honor our precious daughter, and our gratitude to this special community:

Sept. 21, 2021. It is a day that passed unremarkably in our lives. We looked back at the news of that day: The U.S. lifted the travel ban on vaccinated foreign travelers. Pfizer announced that its BioNTech vaccine was safe for children. The U.S. death toll from the pandemic equaled that of the 1918 Spanish flu. And, more ominously, U.S. border patrol agents on horseback were videotaped using whips to drive back Haitian immigrants at the U.S.-Mexican border.

Not in the headlines - and honestly, not even in our awareness - Sept. 21, 2021 marked 17 years, 6 months, and 19 days since the day we lost Amber. It was the day that we started living our lives without Amber longer than we had her in our lives.

So, from that day to the present, we are in a different place: still missing, still longing, and still profoundly aware that having lost her is unreasonable - literally, beyond reason.

Yet as the life we knew before becomes more distant, our motivation to keep Amber present in our lives is all the stronger. The Amber Bernier Scholarship is a living memorial: a memorial to her life, to her generosity, to her love of friends and family, and to her sense of fairness and equity.

Truly, we cannot express how deeply grateful we are to you for joining us as we give back to this wonderful community, invest in the dreams of our youth, and honor the memory of our daughter.

This Voices Letters from readers was submitted to The Commons.

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