CHARDON, Ohio – On a bitter-cold Saturday morning in March, hundreds gathered to lay Daniel Parmertor to rest.
Daniel, or Danny as many called him, was one of the three teenagers killed at Chardon High School on February 27.
Yet, on the day of his funeral, his family was shocked by what they saw.
“During the funeral precession, as we were driving down the road, I remember vividly seeing people standing out in their yards with signs and with their children and holding up the shape of a heart,” said Joe Linek, a second-cousin of Danny’s.
“It was just unbelievably moving,” Linek continued. “We drove from Eastlake to Chardon for the precession. There were people standing in their front yards in the freezing cold with their children the whole way. That just really struck my own heart.”
It was in the moment on March 3, when Linek felt compelled to do more.
For the past several months, the architect has been designing a potential memorial to honor the local heroes, Danny and victims Russell King, Jr., and Demetrius Hewlin.
The memorial includes a series of stones that lead up to three large pillars. Two of the pillars will be made with 16 stones and the other 17 – representing the ages of the three boys killed.
“On these pillars would be an inscription of each one of their names and lives and as these pillars rose up out of the ground, they would come together and at a moment in time, they would burst out above you into a heart,” Linek said.
When the sun shines from above, the heart will cast a shadow on each of the teenager’s memorials.
Linek said the concept has taken months to create, but along the way, he made one surprising discovery.
“I discovered, kind of unintentionally, that these columns were two-feet wide and these paths were 27-feet long and the center of the heart was 12-feet high, which was the date that this happened.”
With the blessing of the city, Russell and Demetrius’ families, Linek is anxious for what’s next.
Now, the city will move forward with focus groups to determine if the entire community wants to pursue the memorial and when and where it should be located.
Ideally, Linek said he’d like to see it in Chardon Square, but regardless of its location, it would be an important reminder to never forget.
“I choose to look at the love and support that the community had. I choose to look at the fabulous lives that these boys led,” he said. “If healing comes out of it, I’d feel very comfortable with that. That would be my goal to make sure that people remember the goodness of the community and the families and the boys who lost their lives.”