Family and friends celebrate Raymond Green Vance’s would-be 23rd birthday

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Raymond Green Vance would have turned 23 on Jan. 21. His family and friends decided they wanted to spend the day in a way he would have wanted.

“We wanted to do something that reflected Raymond and giving is what he did. Now we can do it in his name,” said Ron Bell, Raymond’s grandfather.

Vance was one of the five people killed in the Club Q mass shooting in November.

The group gathered at Club Q in Colorado Springs to clean the memorial. In temperatures as cold as 25 degrees, they picked up a trash bag and started to remove dead flowers.

After they had cleaned everything, they set out new flowers across the memorial.

“It’s been so nice to get to meet people. And they’re so nice. They understand what we’re going through because they also went through the same thing. And somehow, we became a family,” said Esthela Bell, Raymond’s grandmother.

“Thank you, Raymond,” she shouted toward the sky.

Vance’s family, along with others within the Club Q community, helped bring flowers, balloons, food, and sang happy birthday.

His grandparents say that even now, Vance isn’t done teaching them new things. They still see him every time the sun comes out.

“Because of Raymond, we learned that a lot of people are just people that want to be together, we want to know each other, we want to protect each other,” they said.
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