Communication Builds Our Community

Spook Hill Run Celebrated Life of 10-Year-Old Irys

Some ran and others walked. Some offered flowers, others balloons. Several carried homemade signs. But in all, several hundred people showed up, united in their desire to celebrate the life of Irys Wright, a 10-year-old lost May 24 to raging ocean riptide off Siesta Key Beach.

Her parents, Parys Miller and Freddie Brinson, expressed their gratitude to the crowd that helped honor the memory of their beautiful child. Miller's co-workers at the Lake Wales Wal-Mart were there, along with faculty, staff, students and their parents from Spook Hill Elementary, where Irys recently completed the fourth grade. Many who never met the child came to show support for her family.

Spook Hill Principal Chambre Timmons, who had known Irys since kindergarten, thanked the crowd for coming out to honor the "bright light" who was loved by so many: "Just to see her walk the hallways with that smile on her face is something that we truly will miss."

In addition to showing up, the community has been donating to support the family. As of May 30, just under $16,700 of the $20,000 goal had been raised for the funeral and other family expenses through a Go Fund Me campaign created by Irys's teacher Amy Rietschel. Donations may be made online at

Spook Hill was special to Irys, not just because it was next to her school, but also because she and her dad spent time together on the hill itself. Brinson videotaped Irys running up the hill and shared how the two talked about how running the hill represented something that started easier and got harder, but symbolized never giving up.

Brinson's sadness was evident Friday, but the outpouring of love and support from the community made the hurt just a little easier for him and Miller.


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