JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Little reminders of Eli Warren were everywhere at Maranatha Church Sunday.
“Living in a van down by the river. He loved Chris Farley so we decided to have the shirts made,” Ramonda Capazzi said.
She and her family were among dozens of family members, friends and strangers who came to give blood in Eli’s honor.
“He was so full of life and energy. Loved playing jokes. Funny, funny kid but he had such compassion,” Linda Jarvis said.
That compassion is why his church decided a blood drive would be a fitting tribute to him.
They want the 10-year-old boy to be remembered not for the crash that took his life, but for his kindness and ability to make anyone smile.
“The idea of people coming together to do something as fantastic as giving blood to help other people would make Eli very, very happy,” his pastor Jeff Henderson said.
Eli was killed and his mom badly hurt when a semi truck crossed the median on I-10 and hit them head on near Chaffee Road in January.
Their church family said Sunday Eli’s mom is now out of the hospital but recovering in a wheelchair.
“They’re very strong in their faith and they have us to lean on,” Jarvis said.
As the church works on plans for a celebration of life later this month, those closest to Eli said giving blood in his honor is a way for him to live on.
“Just imagine somebody’s life being saved because somebody showed up here today to give blood that would not otherwise have given blood. I think that’s pretty fantastic,” Henderson said.
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