Family of Parkland victim travels to Utah as legislature designates ‘Month of Kindness’

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The state of Utah received a special honor on Thursday from a Florida family who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Petty family’s 14-year-old daughter, Alaina Petty, was shot and killed along with 16 other people on February 14, 2018 inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

On Thursday, Utah’s legislature passed a resolution to make April a designated month of kindness, calling it #MSDKindness.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes made the announcement with local state representatives. Reyes said the state wanted to honor the victims’ families by reminding Utahns to share their acts of kindness with one another, and also upload their goodness on Utah’s SafeUT app.

That touched the Petty family, and they wanted to be in Utah for the announcement. Meghan Petty is Alaina’s big sister and she said her little sister was the kindest person she has ever known.

“Her entire life, I could give you examples, of how she was just kind to other people,” Meghan Petty said. “She didn’t judge anyone, she was just so sweet.”

“She was a beautiful young lady,” said Alaina’s father, Ryan Petty. “She loved to serve; she was very kind. She wanted to be and tried to be everybody’s friend.”

The Petty family lives in Parkland, Florida but wanted to be in Salt Lake City to commend the state for its resolution to make April the #MSDKkindess month.

The Petty family also has deep roots in Utah, they said. They have family here and Ryan also attended Brigham Young University. The Petty children, they have four siblings, have attended summer camps in Utah.

“We hope we can take the tragedy that happened at Stoneman Douglas that happened on Valentine’s Day and turn it into countless acts of kindness and service in the honor of the victims,” Ryan Petty said.

“The fact that they wanted to honor my sister and the other 16 people who lost their lives shows there is some goodness in the world still that people still care about people,” Meghan Petty said. “The fact that a whole state of people wanted to take up her mantle and do the same thing, really touched me, so, I really wanted to be here.”