Vern and Bianka Landavazo, parents of Lauren Landavazo, have written a letter expressing their thanks to the residents of the Wichita Falls area.

While we are absolutely devastated at the loss of our beautiful daughter Lauren, we cannot help but be comforted by your kind and compassionate actions and words

Lauren was killed and her friend Makayla Smith was injured when they were shot earlier this month while walking home from McNeil Middle School, a tragedy that devastated an entire community. From memorials, to donations, to lining up with signs at the school, and writing and dedicating a song to the girls, the people of Wichita Falls have rallied behind the families of Lauren and Makayla.

The letter, addressed to "Lauren’s Wonderful Hometown of Wichita Falls," begins with a heartfelt thank you to the people of Texoma for their love and support during this difficult time.

"Bianka and I would like to take a moment on behalf of our entire family and thank you all from the bottom of our broken hearts for the unbelievable outpouring of love and support during this devastating tragedy," Lauren's father Vern wrote. "It has helped us pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and start to heal and rebuild," he continued.

The Landavazo family says that words cannot express the gratitude they feel for the entire community, but would like everyone to know that the outreach of kindness has been a comfort. "While we are absolutely devastated at the loss of our beautiful daughter Lauren, we cannot help but be comforted by your kind and compassionate actions and words."

The Landavazo's letter also says that if you would like to donate, please make sure you only donate to legitimate fundraisers and avoid any "benefits" that are not family sanctioned.

In closing, the Landavazos asked to please help keep Lauren's love alive. "Lauren loved helping others and one of the best ways to keep her love alive is for everyone to do something to make the world a better place for all of us. God bless you all."

You can read the letter to Wichita Falls from the Landavazos in its entirety below:

Thank You From Landavazo Family

To Our Daughter Lauren’s Wonderful Hometown of Wichita Falls,

Bianka and I would like to take a moment on behalf of our entire family and thank you all from the bottom of our broken hearts for the unbelievable outpouring of love and support during this devastating tragedy. It has helped us pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and start to heal and rebuild.

Words cannot express the gratitude we feel and I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings by forgetting to name someone specific, so I will try to keep it general for now and we will make it a point to thank people and businesses personally as we embark on our “new normal” life here in our wonderful community.

While we are absolutely devastated at the loss of our beautiful daughter Lauren, we cannot help but be comforted by your kind and compassionate actions and words. What better place than this to spread Lauren’s message of love and compassion for her fellow human beings?

Making true change and spreading Lauren’s message rests with all of us, but we need to focus on our children, they are our future. We adults have had our chance at running things for thousands and thousands of years and we’ve made a complete mess of things with our old ways.

The definition of insanity is when you do the same thing over and over and expect different results. We are tired of the old, insane ways, they don’t work! So let’s all open our minds and listen with our hearts and make true, lasting change that recognizes every single human being has the right to laugh, to love, and to live the way our Pooh Bear did.

There are many legitimate fundraisers and events that have taken place and are being planned, and we understand that the vast majority of them are well-intentioned and legitimate. However, there are also some “benefits” in Lauren’s name that are not family sanctioned, that we are not receiving funds from, that are simply using our daughter’s name to take advantage of your generosity and make a quick buck.

I strongly urge anyone considering donating in Lauren’s name, please research before donating and if you decide you want to donate, please do so either through first National Bank or directly to whichever organization you choose. The organizations that are receiving donations in her name are informing us of those donations, and again we thank you from the bottom of our broken hearts.

Lauren loved helping others and one of the best ways to keep her love alive is for everyone to do something to make the world a better place for all of us. God bless you all.

Vern and Bianka Landavazo