On Saturday evening, there were no cross-town rivalries or school competitions.
“We are one community here this evening to offer our love for one another and to the family of Dominic DePalma,” Andy McClure, who led the memorial, said.
Dominic, a 17-year-old Broomfield High School student, was identified by organizers as the student who died on Thursday in a crash in Lafayette that injured four other juveniles who have not been identified. The Boulder County Coroner’s office has not officially identified him.
Hundreds gathered in the field near the dog park at Broomfield County Commons Park on Saturday to light a candle, share a memory or a prayer and offer support for Dominic’s family.
There were tears shed and warm embraces among family and friends as the community remembered Dominic, a longtime Broomfield Soccer Club player with a kind heart and an easy ability to make people laugh.
Caleb Sutterfield won’t forget being the shy young kid who showed up to soccer practice and immediately saw a teammate who joked around, laughed and made him feel welcome.
“That’s just who he was. He was always positive, always nice, always happy, always in a good mood,” Sutterfield said on Saturday. “He always had something to laugh about.”
Dominic was a longtime soccer player, but he also loved to play video games on Xbox and was known to ask his parents for a few extra minutes of play time before family dinners commenced. His friends could count on him to stay up late playing, too.
“You knew he’d be on at 4 a.m.,” one friend joked.
One person who spoke during Saturday’s memorial recalled a recent poker game, which entailed the usual friendly jabs and jokes. But not from Dominic.
“Dom never had a mean thing to say about anyone,” he said. “He was the kindest person.”
Thursday’s crash remains under investigation, but Broomfield High School Principal Ginger Ramsey said in a letter sent to families on Friday that two other students remain in critical condition. Boulder Valley School District’s Trauma Team has been activated and counseling will be available from noon to 2 p.m. Monday.
As the sun made its final descent beneath the Front Range during the Saturday evening celebration of life, community members were asked to raise their candles to the sky.
“These candles we have lit celebrate the memories of our loved one who will always remain in our hearts,” McClure said. “We give thanks for his life and remember the laughter, the smiles and the happy times that so many of you shared with Dom.”
With hundreds of glowing lights lifted high, the crowd said in unison “We miss you, Dom” — loud enough so he’d hear it.