A group of girls is honouring the memory of their friend who died in the mass shooting on the Danforth last year through a fundraising initiative.
Reese Fallon, 18, and 10-year-old Juliana Kozis were killed while 13 other victims – ranging in age from 10 to 59 – were treated in hospital.
Kozis was a member of the Markham Synchronized Swim Club (MSSC) that is selling pins to honour her memory and raise money to help children participate in sports. As part of their campaign they set up a table at Toronto Police Headquarters on April 17.
Emergency Task Force members lent their support to the girls initiative.
Const. Jeffrey Hynek and his Emergency Task Force (ETF) team were on duty on the night of the Danforth Shooting last July.
“We were in the area,” he recalled. “The one thing you wish is that you could have been there a bit sooner to do more.”
“This is a great cause and I am here to show my support,” said Hynek, who joined the Service 14 years ago and was assigned to the ETF in 2017.
Const. Joey Hicks, who is on the same team with Hynek, also was on hand to support the girls.
“What they are doing here is very noble,” he said. “My team was working that night, but I was on annual leave. I am very familiar with that area because I worked in 55 Division before going to the ETF. The other thing is I grew up with a lot of Greek friends and am pretty close to the community.”
S/Sgt. Scott Bradbury, with support from S/Sgt. Anthony Castelluci, helped organize the fundraiser at TPS headquarters.
He was on duty that night patrolling 53 Division as part of last summer’s initiative to combat escalating gun and gang violence when the call came through.
“We were on the scene minutes after the event,” said Bradbury, whose daughter is a synchronized swimmer. “When the Markham Club found out my daughter is involved in the sport in Toronto, they contacted me asking if I would assist them with this project.”
The club’s parent committee designed the blue and white pins that have Kozis’ initials on the lower right side.
Grade Five student Annie Gerson joined four other members at TPS to sell the pins.
Kozis was a member of the club’s under-10 provincial team.
“Juliana was very athletic, energetic, kind and supportive and we really miss her,” said Gerson.
Cheryl Kaspar, a coach at the club, accompanied the young members.
She said Juliana was sweet, funny and charismatic.
“This was a young girl who always wanted to learn and grow and she cared very much for her team,” added Kaspar.
The pins are sold for $10.
Funds accrued go to Jumpstart, which is a registered charity that helps kids from financially disadvantaged families participate in organized sports and physical activity.