Following the tragic deaths of 21 people in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, many organizations and families have banded together to support grieving parents and honor the children who were senselessly murdered.
According to PEOPLE, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America post-mortem awarded the Bronze Cross to 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza.
The Bronze Cross is reserved explicitly for Girl Scouts members who display “extraordinary heroism.”
Garza was a first-year Girl Scout member. On Friday, delegates from the Girl Scouts gifted the family with a green Girl Scouts sash for Troop 7000 with the bronze cross pinned to it.
The family also received an honorary framed declaration signed by the CEO of Girl Scouts.
Moments before the tragic Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Garza received an Honor Roll certificate in her classroom when the shooter opened fire.
Garza’s mother, Berlinda Arreola, 49, said her daughter was one of the first children shot in the classroom by 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos as she tried to contact 911.
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“He could have just taken her phone away,” Arreola told PEOPLE. “He could have just broke it, done something. And he just shot her.”
Following the award ceremony, Arreola acknowledges that the Bronze Cross symbolizes that “her [Garza’s] heroism has not gone unnoticed.”
“We were so proud of her,” Arreola said at the ceremony. “It was so emotional, them reading this declaration to us for her, it was just — it’s amazing. The words that they put into this thing –was all Amerie, it was her and we are just so ecstatic about this,” she said.
“She deserved it. Our baby gave up her life for this, but she deserved it,” Arreola said.
Garza’s Father, Angel Garza, wrote a grieving message on Facebook following the news of his daughter’s death.
“My little love is now flying high with the angels above,” Angel Garza wrote on Facebook. “Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you, Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”
Garza’s achievements include the school’s “Heart of Gold” award, which she received last year.
“I just want people to know how brave she was, and unfortunately, it took her life, but she tried to save everyone,” Arreola said to PEOPLE. “That was just the way she was. She tried to save everyone.”
Another family falling victim to the devastating shooting has honored 10-year-old Tess Marie Mata’s dream of being TikTok famous.
Mata was one of the 21 victims killed on Tuesday. Although she was too young to have a personal account, Mata stayed dedicated to fulfilling her social media goals by recording and drafting creative TikTok videos under her mother, Veronica Mata’s account.
Robert Hill, Mata’s uncle, told CNN that she had dreamed of having one of her dance videos go viral.
Veronica Mata posted two videos of her daughter’s dance videos last week with two heartfelt captions.
The first video shows Mata doing a famous dance routine to Don Toliver’s song “No Idea.”
“My sweet baby girl. She was taken from us because of a senseless act in a mass shooting. I never allowed Tess to post her videos because she was so young. But today, I want to celebrate her by trying to fulfill her wish by becoming TikTok famous. #uvaldestrong.”
@veronicamata07 My sweet baby girl. She was taken from us because of a senseless act in a mass shooting. I never allowed Tess to post her videos because she was so young. But today I want to celebrate her by trying to fulfill her wish by becoming TikTok famous. #uvaldestrong ♬ original sound – Veronica Mata
The second video shows Mata in her element, using familiar TikTok hand gestures and faces as she performed along with the song.
“Tess Marie, we love you and miss you so much, baby girl. #uvaldestrong”
Her family is in awe of quickly the video’s numerical views have grown.
“It’s hard to still wrap my head around this,” Hill told CNN. “I wish she was around to see this.”
@veronicamata07 Tess Marie we love you and miss you so much baby girl. #uvaldestrong ♬ whos that chick – 🍪
Since sharing the videos combined, they have received over 100k views and widespread support from celebrities like Lance Bass, Paris Hilton and more.