Loved ones and members of the UCF community honor fallen Knight, Michael Namey, at Lake Claire on Oct. 16, 2015. Video by: Marina Guerges, Central Florida Future
Roses, wristbands and students from all backgrounds filled the tables in the Lake Claire pavilion as the sun went down Friday night during a vigil for fallen Knight Michael Namey.
Namey, an 18-year-old freshman engineering student, died Sept. 22 after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest while in his precalculus class at UCF the day before.
Michael’s mother, Connie Namey, was in attendance at the vigil and emphasized the importance of knowing how to administer CPR and use an AED.
“A lot of them [students] are young and they don’t think they’ll ever need this,” Connie said. “You really never know where you’ll be when something like this happens. If not on campus, it could be with your family, at a restaurant, anything. I hope this brings a lot of awareness to students and they will get some training.”
After the incident, first responder and senior political science pre-law major Manny Orozco Ballestas, who administered CPR to Michael, made it his mission to promote CPR and AED awareness and to keep Michael’s name and story alive. After he wrote an open letter to Michael’s family on Facebook, two Theta Chi pledges, Eric Alsing and Scott Robinson, reached out to him about putting a vigil together.
“I thought it was a great idea and I’m really happy that they went out of their way to help me do this,” Orozco Ballestas said.
The vigil, which began at 5 p.m., featured quick CPR and AED demonstrations — taught by Orozco Ballestas himself — as well as food, roses and wristbands available for a donation in Michael’s name.
Alsing and Robinson said that putting on the vigil was something they wanted to do out of respect for the Nameys and to show that the UCF community cares.
“Basically we just want to spread that awareness and show that we care about Michael,” Alsing said. “We just wanted to let his family know that the Knights community is coming together.”
Connie also noted her appreciation for the UCF community coming together to remember Michael, as well as for those who have reached out to the family with support, prayers and kindness.
“They’ve really gone above and beyond with this whole thing here tonight. Some of them might not even know him,” she said. “It means a lot, it really touches our hearts. We’ve received some cards in the mail from some students who were in his class, and one girl said ‘I’ve never cared so much about somebody that I didn’t even know.’ They’ve been amazing, they really have.”
At 8:10 p.m., attendees gathered around a memorial for Michael and participated in a three-minute moment of silence. Dozens of electric candles circled a framed portrait of Michael, which was leaned up against a tree. As the candles flickered, attendees came one by one to place white roses by his picture.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for being here tonight,” Connie told attendees after the moment of silence. “It means so much to us, so thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
Danielle Hendrix is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByDaniHendrix or email her at DanielleH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.