As the University of Connecticut campus comes together following a student’s death over the weekend, the victim’s family is trying to piece together what happened early Sunday morning.
Jeffny Pally’s parents say their daughter was full of light and had a smile that could light up any room. Her loved ones said the world is a little bit darker now that she’s gone.
"She always put others first, she always felt that she needs to do something to help people,” said Shiny Pally, Jeffny’s mother.
It was 19 years ago that Shiny and Abraham Pally moved into their West Hartford home. They bought their house after their youngest child, Jeffny, was born.
"I don't have words to explain how my daughter was,” Abraham Pally said.
Both he and his wife were at a loss for words as they tried to piece together what unfolded outside the university’s fire department, before she was hit by a Chevy Tahoe early Sunday morning.
They are now remembering Jeffny for her larger-than-life personality, caring nature, and unyielding love for those around her.
"She's like my mom, she always talked. And sometimes we would say, you got it from grandma! She would just take over,” Abraham Pally said.
Jeffny Pally graduated from Hall High School in 2015. There she played soccer and basketball, and ran on the track and cross country team.
While away at school, Jeffny was part of the Delta Gama sorority, UConn’s community outreach program, and the Indian Students Association.
But it’s in her hometown where she left behind an even bigger legacy.
"I don't doubt that on their run today, a lot of the juniors and seniors are definitely thinking of her,” said Scott Sampietro, outdoor head coach to boys and girls cross country.
On Monday morning, during the school announcements, a touching tribute was made to Jeffny, honoring her memory -- and life in West Hartford.
"It was impossible not to notice her. I mean, she was such a sweet girl and everyone wanted to be around her. She was a good friend to a lot of people,” Sampietro said.
While balancing academics and athletics, she also served as a hostess at Avert Brasserie in West Hartford.
"She used to help all the waitresses because she couldn't just stand still. She would run around and help and they always ... They loved her because whenever Jeffny is there, they get extra help,” Shiny Pally said.
To Jeffny, family was her priority, which is why she decided to stay close to home and go to UConn.
"She wants to be home for every little thing,” including attending the Church of St. Timothy, where she and her family are devout members, Shiny Pally said.
“It's devastating ... we were shocked. It's just one of those things you can't believe happened to one of your own families. That's what we feel like, a real parish family,” said parish secretary Sandy Marone.
The parish community offered up prayers to the Pally family during Sunday services, and the family said they are planning for Jeffny’s wake and funeral to be at St. Timothy’s this week.
In a statement on Monday, the UConn Delta Gamma sorority posted on Facebook, saying "Sisters of the Epsilon Pi-Connecticut chapter of Delta Gamma mourn the loss of new member and University of Connecticut sophomore Jeffny Pally. She passed away after being struck by a University of Connecticut Fire Department vehicle on campus early Sunday morning. She joined the chapter this fall, and was also a resident assistant, member of the Indian Students Association and member of UConn Community Outreach. Sisters will remember Jeffny as an exemplary student who valued her education, her community, her family and her friends. To remember and honor Jeffny, the Indian Students Association is hosting a vigil tomorrow evening. Sisters have been encouraged to seek the counseling services made available by the University."
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