Deseret News' Heroes of 2012

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 5:57 p.m. MST

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Associated Press
The Parker Family: For exemplifying love, faith and forgiveness.

The special internal dynamics of Alissa and Robbie Parker's young family should never have been thrust into the national limelight. But when their precious 6-year-old daughter Emilie became one of the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, a grieving nation was given a rare glimpse into the innocence, joy, love and faith that characterized an otherwise inconspicuous family. What the nation saw was not merely emotional attachment between kin, but clear evidence of purposeful choices and habits within the Parker family that fostered attributes of respect, love and service on a regular basis. Just one day after the rampage, Robbie Parker spoke to the national press, noting his prayer and concern for all the families involved in the tragedy — including the family of the alleged gunman.

The Parkers now deserve the time and privacy to grieve and heal. But we honor them for humbly showing how, within the walls of their home, love was spoken through meaningful acts of service and for demonstrating through their dignified response to tragedy how such acts compound over time into a character of compassion. By so doing they have given the world evidence of how familial love ultimately triumphs over tragedy, evil and death.

>> Alissa Parker, left, and her husband, Robbie Parker, center, carry their daughters, Samantha, 3, and Madeline, 4, following funeral services for their 6-year old daughter Emilie Parker on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.
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Heart and Mind
BUENA VISTA, VA

Bravo to the Deseret News for highlighting 6 initiatives or role models that will positively impact the world. Now, it is the readers' turn to read this story, ponder its connection to their future and spend less time reading the sports stories. Until readers alter their behavior to match their deepest, most important values, no innovative media reporting will really help.

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