By CHRISTIN COYNE
Hundreds of friends and peers of Dakota Lee Hartman, a Weatherford ISD student who died following a crash last week, showed up Friday morning to a vigil honoring her.
Organized by the Weatherford High School Health Occupations Students of America club, students remembered the 17-year-old junior who died April 18, a day after her car went off Dennis Road and crashed into a stone mailbox and fence during a rain storm.
At one point during the solemn vigil service several students stood, holding posters with words that described the teenage girl whose friendship stretched across typical high school groups.
One student speaker noted her kindness and the wide variety of people she was friends with.
Her mother, Liza Hartman, said Hartman could have gone to Brock High School but chose to attend Weatherford because of the diversity of the student body.
She never knew a stranger, her parents said.
“She would find the most mismatched people and go to them and counsel them and love them,” Liza Hartman said. “Not to mention all the stray animals she brought home.”
Hartman had hoped to eventually become a vet tech.
Students also presented Hartman’s family with her wings, which she would have earned upon graduation.
“She had a real giving spirit,” her father Heath Hartman said. “I don’t know if you heard but she gave of her organs.”
Her kidneys were used to save a couple little girls and there was a liver transplant as well, her father said.
Her young nephew was a big love of her life, her family said, adding that Hartman chose to spend her 16th summer babysitting the boy for her sister, who was attending nursing school.
“Sometimes he wanted Dakota more than momma,” Hartman’s mother said.
The family expressed appreciation for the response since their daughter’s death.
“The love and support from the community has just been overwhelming, especially the high school,” Hartman said.