Those who have met Jenna Breen — even if it was just for a short time — will tell you about her warm personality and bright smile that could …
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Those who have met Jenna Breen — even if it was just for a short time — will tell you about her warm personality and bright smile that could liven up any room.
“She always had a smile on her face,” Breen’s mother’s fiancé, Jake Deherrera, said.
It seemed only fitting then, her friends and family say, that the day she was memorialized at the intersection of 118th Place and Sheridan Boulevard was as equally warm and bright as the impression she left behind.
Breen, 21, was fatally struck by a drunk driver who ran through a red light at that same intersection just over one year ago. She was killed less than two blocks away from the Fox and Hound Bar and Grill, where she worked as a server for several years.
Nearly two dozen of her closest friends and family members gathered on St. Patrick’s Day to honor the Arvada resident, who would have turned 23 the following day, and commemorate the installation of a roadside memorial sign inscribed with Jenna’s name on it.
“We wanted to come here to the memorial and remember her as we all will forever in our hearts,” Breen’s mother, Gail Parrish, said to the small group who each held a green balloon with the phrase, “Happy Birthday” written in small, white letters. “This is really hard seeing your daughter’s name on a sign.”
For those who knew Breen, the installation of the sign about a month ago by the city of Westminster signaled the end of another chapter in their quest for justice — one that began shortly after 25-year-old Federal Heights resident Viet Quoc Nguyen pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in Breen’s death.
The city of Westminster, as a part of its roadside memorial sign program, mandates that a conviction be successfully completed before a sign application is processed and approved.
“They’re really important because they give a daily reminder to people that drunk driving is still killing people and that it is a big problem in our society,” Jennifer Clouse, a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Colorado victim services specialist, said at the memorial gathering. “It gives a name to the victims so that they are so much more than statistics and it gives family, friends, co-workers and neighbors a place and way to honor, recognize and remember the victims. I never met Jenna but I will never forget her either.”
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