OGDEN -- Six-year-old Emilie Parker, daughter of Ben Lomond High School sweethearts Robbie Parker and Alissa Cottle Parker, was one of the victims of Friday's mass shooting in a Connecticut elementary school.
Emilie died after gunman Adam Lanza, son of a teacher, began firing in a first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Emilie was one of 20 children who died in the murderous rampage that also claimed the lives of six adults at the school. The gunman's mother was later found dead at her home, and Lanza killed himself.
Quick to cheer up those in need of a smile, Emilie Parker never missed a chance to draw a picture or make a card.
Her father, Robbie Parker, fought back tears as he described the beautiful, blonde, always-smiling girl who loved to try new things, except food.
Parker, one of the first parents to publicly talk about his loss, expressed no animosity for the gunman, even as he struggled to explain the death to his other two children, ages 3 and 4. He's sustained by the fact that the world is better for having had Emilie in it.
"I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.
Ogden resident Nate Lucas, who is Robbie Parker's uncle and Emilie's great-uncle, held out hope through the day that Emilie had survived.
"The whole day we heard about it and thought, 'Is it possible it could be her?' " Lucas said Friday night. "We thought there was no way. At first, we weren't sure it was the right town, and after we knew it was, the details started to come in.
"So few were taken to the hospital, you realize the chances Emilie survived were pretty bad. It got to where you were just pretty sure you knew what the outcome was going to be. It took a surprisingly long time to find out for sure, then it was confirmed."
Lucas said Emilie's 30-year-old mother waited hours for an update on her firstborn.
"All the kids were taken to a fire station complex, and Alissa was trying to find Emilie, and couldn't find her," Lucas said, his voice breaking with emotion.
"That was the first indication that the news might not be good. Later, some information was given to Robbie and Alissa, that she was one who was at least injured, but they didn't give them any other information. Quite some time later, the confirmation was that Emilie was one of those killed."
Lucas said the Parkers, including Emilie and her two younger sisters, came home to Utah for a visit a few months back. Lucas remembered Emilie, cute and blond, as good, helpful and outgoing.
Lucas said there are several other girls in the family about Emilie's age, and all are sad and scared to have lost their playmate.
"It's pretty solemn around here," he said.
Lucas said his sister, Emilie's grandmother, was on a plane to Connecticut by early Friday afternoon and that relatives of Alissa Parker boarded a flight to Connecticut earlier in the day.
WSU students raise money for Conn.
OGDEN -- A Weber State University education major will be collecting Coins for Connecticut during tonight's basketball game against the Brigham Young University Cougars.
Dallas Saxton and other students will be at every exit to collect donations, which will go to the families of the victims shot Friday at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Saxton said he started a Facebook page called Coins for Connecticut. With every "like" he received, he said he made his own personal donation.
Then he approached Municipal Elementary School in Roy and sought permission to set up a donation stand at the school. The school approved and will accept donations at its main office, 5575 S. 2200 West.
"I'm trying to get together with a couple of other schools in the area, and for about a week, I would like to push for donations," he said.
Saxton said he will keep the public updated through the Facebook page on where and how to donate funds.
The money will be sent to Connecticut in time for Christmas.