She was only 12 years old, but her courageous actions were that of a seasoned hero.
During a holiday visit with her grandmother and great-aunt Corrine Allen, foster child Jamie Garr was riding her bicycle when she saw her home on fire. Without thinking of herself, she ran into the burning house to save 71-year old Allen who was suffering from dementia. Once inside, Jamie managed to call 911, but neither Jamie nor Allen escaped the intense flames. Sadly, both perished in the fire.
Justin Taylor remembers receiving the call from Jacksonville ’s lead foster care agency, Family Support Services of North Florida (FSS), informing him of the tragedy. As Assistant Youth Coordinator of Florida Youth Shine (FYS), his first reaction was, “Our organization advocates for better foster care, but we have to step out and do something to honor this very heroic little girl for her efforts and actions.”
Therefore, Florida Youth Shine and FSS had a foster parent rally at Wayman Center on October 23, complete with bounce houses and DJ as they tied together the third annual Foster Youth Day with Jamie’s death. City Councilman Clay Yarborough was unable to attend, so he gave Taylor the framed Resolution proclaiming October 23 as Foster Youth Day to deliver at the event. Taylor passed the Resolution to 22-year old Jesse Wilson, a former foster child who is now a father with his own child.
Taylor said, “With all of his accomplishments, I thought he was the perfect person to present the Resolution. Jesse has worked hard to mentor and advocate for foster children in care. He’s also an inspirational and motivating writer.”
Despite the underlying purpose of the event, those in attendance strived to create a fun atmosphere by offering an assortment of activities and games and serving delicious food. Current foster kids made up five separate basketball teams and played a tournament in memory of Jamie since her favorite sport was basketball. Those on and off the court appeared to bring their competitive natures, resulting in the final game going into triple overtime. The winners walked away with memorable trophies that were provided by the Guardian's Ad Litem office.
The day proved to be exciting as it recognized those foster children who have lost so much in their young lives. But mostly, the agenda was about honoring a special little girl named Jamie Garr, a child who, in her quest to save the life of another, selflessly gave and made the ultimate of all sacrifices—her life.