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Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter Emilie was among those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, remembers his child as a loving, creative person who used her talents to touch the lives of everyone she met.
The family of 6-year-old Emilie Parker, who was killed in the Connecticut school shooting, has been humbled by "countless kind gestures, words and prayers" since the tragedy, her father said.
"Remember these beautiful children; keep them close to our hearts," Robbie Parker said in a statement Tuesday to NBC News. "Do not let their bright shining faces become extinguished. Let us do everything in our power to ensure their light will continue to shine brighter and brighter in all we do to remember them."
The Parkers plan a viewing Friday and funeral Saturday for their daughter in Ogden, Utah, where the family lived before moving to Newtown, Conn., according to Salt Lake City-based NBC affiliate KLS-TV.
Following the shooting last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults, Robbie Parker described Emilie to reporters as "bright, creating and very loving" and always willing to try new things "other than food."
"She always carried around her markers and pencils so that she never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those around her," Parker added during a news conference on Saturday. "I can’t count the number of times Emilie noticed someone feeling sad or frustrated and would rush to find a piece of paper to draw them a picture or to write them an encouraging note."
The Parker family has since set up a fund in Emilie's memory to aid other families of Sandy Hook shooting victims.
They hope to create a memorial and "enduring legacy" for the victims in Newtown, with proceeds from the Emilie Parker Fund set to help those affected "in whatever ways each family deems necessary," according to the fund's website.
"Although no one can be prepared what to do at a time like this, I do know for certain that it is imperative that we all spend more time with our families and focus on those who are most precious in our lives," Robbie Parker said in his statement to NBC News.
Here is the statement in full:
We have been very humbled at the response received over the past few days and by the countless kind gestures, words and prayers offered to every family of every victim. I am grateful that the words spoken on Saturday night have found a way to be of comfort to some. The numerous requests to learn more about our dear Emilie have been truly humbling. Although no one can be prepared what to do at a time like this, I do know for certain that it is imperative that we all spend more time with our families and focus on those who are most precious in our lives. May we use all our energy and strength to overcome this terrible tragedy. May we focus our energy on those who were taken from us and let their memories inspire us to do good. May we look for opportunities to give service and work toward bettering our communities. I feel that if we can do these things we will again feel empowered, and we will make a difference. Remember these beautiful children; keep them close to our hearts. Do not let their bright shining faces become extinguished. Let us do everything in our power to ensure their light will continue to shine brighter and brighter in all we do to remember them.