BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – It’s been almost one year since ‘two bright lights,’ a Bristol mother and daughter, were taken from the world too soon.
On October 17, 2020, Jesse Kennedy said the unthinkable happened when he had learned his daughter, Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Kennedy, and his ex-wife, Kristina Robinson, had been shot and killed in their Trammel Road home.
The tragedy sent shock waves through the community, as well as through the halls of Tennessee High School where Gabby was a senior.
While tragic, their deaths inspired a movement leading to the formation of ‘The Gabby Foundation.’ Trevor Lee, a classmate of Gabby’s, formed the foundation in November 2020 with a mission to help others who may be subject to domestic abuse or violence.
The foundation’s motto, ‘Love Like Gabby,’ is one Lee lives by every day as he continues on in carrying out the foundation’s message and goal. He said it’s been a multi-agency effort so far.
“There are a lot of resources, such as The Branch House and different police departments that provide hands-on resources for victims, so we’re looking to raise awareness and assist people in any way we can,” said Lee.
In the past year, the foundation has held toy drives for children in foster care and even introduced legislation to the state, and Lee said this is only the beginning.
“We’re looking to do a lot of community projects and assist in any way we can to keep Gabby and Kristina’s name alive and their impact on the community just like they did when they were here,” he said.
As the anniversary approaches, Gabby’s father is looking back at the progress that’s been made, and he said he’s especially proud of ‘The Gabby Act,’ a bill that was introduced this past March and will be reintroduced this upcoming session.
“It’s all around us, and to see that there is a way that we can push legislation through and change the outcome, it’s just amazing especially amazing to have a young lady’s name on it that I’m proud to call my daughter,” said Jesse Kennedy, Gabby’s Father.
While the namesake of the foundation is in memory of Gabby, her mother Kristina, who also died in that tragedy, is far from forgotten.
“Gabby was simply the person she was because of Kristina. She was a great mother to just a great person, and there’s not anybody I know of that’s ever spoken an ill word about Kristina,” said Kennedy.
As far as the foundation, Lee said the goal is to grow it far beyond the state and hopefully one day becoming nationally recognized in sharing their mission and helping others.
Kennedy hopes the foundation and its future work can help prevent further tragedies.
“If there is domestic violence, speak up about it. If it’s going on with you, if it’s going on with your family, if you’re concerned, if you’re worried, if you’ve got a friend that’s acting differently, speak up and speak out,” said Kennedy.
He said the upcoming day of remembrance will be tough, but they won’t be alone. Gabby’s friends will be holding a memorial at her parking spot that’s still roped off in the Tennessee High parking lot on Sunday afternoon.