ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A touching and emotional pledge of support was witnessed in St. Paul on Friday, honoring a Richfield woman who left a worldly impact.
Friends and colleagues of 34-year-old Erin Randall donated money to a memorial fund in hopes of ending the senseless tragedies of drunk driving.
Randall, a 2007 Fulbright Scholar from Le Seuer, was killed back in March by a man who is accused of driving with a blood alcohol limit three times the legal threshold.
Photographs of Randall in countries around the world offer an image of the kind of caring person she was.
“Really smart, she was the whole package,” recalls UW-Eau Claire professor Mike Dorsher.
Dorsher preceded Randall as president of the Minnesota Fulbright Association board and served as her mentor.
Police say 25-year-old Neftali Ramirez chose to get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol limit of .25 in the early morning hours of March 8, 2015. Randall was stopped at an intersection, and Ramirez is charged with slamming into the driver side of her vehicle, killing her instantly.
“It was a horrible shock,” said co-worker Michelle Zwakman. “We were all just completely stunned and saddened.”
Zwakman hired Randall, a former Fulbright Scholar in Bangladesh, to help with advocacy and grant writing at the Wilder Foundation.
She worked to help secure funding for programs to help the Twin Cities aging population, as well as refugees and immigrants.
“She just really wanted to learn and understand and, aligned with that, was a deep caring, to make a difference,” Zwakman said.
Randall made a difference indeed. She was passionate about cultures and social justice, and she was fluent in four languages.
Following her stint as a Fulbright scholar, Randall got involved in the local chapter of the Fulbright Association board and became a crucial link between current-day international scholars and the board.
Dorsher recalls the suddenness of the news, adding, “We couldn’t rush to the hospital, couldn’t say a prayer — she was gone.”
To honor Randall in some impactful way, scholars and friends from across the country contributed to a memorial fund in her honor.
“These contributions come from all across the United States from people Erin touched within the Fulbright Association,” Dorsher said.
On Friday, a check in the amount of $1,100 was handed over to Minnesota’s chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
In a brief and touching ceremony came the power to change lives for the better, a lasting honor of a young woman whose own life ended much too soon.