Hundreds gather to remember Green
It started early in the morning with a few flowers and a Riverdale T-shirt. Slowly, throughout the day, more tokens of sympathy were placed until it became something of a shrine to a woman who died way too soon.
Hundreds of friends, family and well-wishers gathered Tues-day evening at the former site of Marina 31, near where Chelsey Green’s car went into the Caloosahatchee River early Friday morning, for a candlelight vigil in her honor, less than 24 hours after her body and car were pulled from the river.
By sunset there were hundreds of flowers, along with pictures, candles and other mementos laid out neatly at her shrine.
Meanwhile, dozens went along the shore of the Caloosahatchee and laid roses in the water, while still others sent lanterns into the air.
They also remembered a kind, bighearted young woman who always had a smile on her face and made everyone around her feel good.
According to a photo and text montage placed on social media and shared on Facebook, Green left a friend’s house just a few blocks from her own early July 17. That was the last time anyone saw her, and friends and family began to search for her.
Monday the Sheriff’s Office reported it had found a car in the river and later the remains discovered inside were identified as Green.
Mariah Haag, who had known Green since middle school and created the picture on her board with angel wings, knew Chelsey as a loving caring person, whose death really hit her hard.
“If you needed someone, she was there for you. She showed her support and dedication to fundraisers. Once you met her, you wanted to be that friend for her,” Haag said, who helped search for Green when they learned she was missing. “I was home in bed when a friend posted she had died. I literally started bawling. My heart broke.”
Terry Bogart, who became friends with Green from her working at the Smoke N Pit, described her as a happy person who, if there was something wrong toward the end, didn’t show it.
“She was a good kind person who would give you the shirt off her back,” Bogart said. “I’ll remember her kind heart and smile.”
“We used to take her to the races in Bradenton and Punta Gorda every Saturday,” said Russell Bogart, Terry’s grandfather, and regular at the Smoke N Pit. “She was wonderful. Every time I went there and ordered turkey, she would get scraps for my little dog and put it in a box for her.”
“She didn’t seem like a person who would take her own life,” Loretta Bogart said. “You fall in love with people because of their ways. She was always happy to me.”
On a hot, but clear evening, not much was said at the vigil other than the Lord’s Prayer and a verse of “Amazing Grace,” but perhaps family friend Brooke Velasco had the thought that really hit home for everyone.
“I really don’t know what to say for something like this, I really apologize. We’re not prepared and we weren’t ready,” Velasco said. “We all wanted her safe and sound.”
How could they be ready? All they could do was have those who came sign their name to poster board, which somehow everyone managed to cram their names onto as the sun set in the west.
Even in the face of tragedy, Haag was able to remember all the good.
“She was an amazing person. She appreciated life and was there 100 percent. She was the best person she could be and had fun and enjoyed life,” Haag said.