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2008 Emily's Parade a wunderbar event

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By Pamela Lawson

A German film crew joined more than 2,000 motorcycle riders on Saturday for the third annual Emily’s Parade from Columbine High School to Bailey.

ZDF Television travels annually from Germany to America to cover human-interest stories. During their travels throughout the U.S., the crew had planned a stop at Columbine High this week to explore ways school officials and family members have continued the healing process through outreach programs.

But when Michael Tamburello, founder of the Lullaby for Columbine Project, learned of their plans, he urged them to adjust their arrival date to include Emily’s Parade. That required great orchestration, he said. But he was also able to connect them with additional contacts to expand their story.

“We were able to arrange for (host) Susanne Conrad to ride on the back of a BMW motorcycle and the videographer on another, and they were able to obtain footage of her riding with everyone all the way to Bailey, ” Tamburello said. “It was a real high point for her personally.”

Conrad is host of the weekly show “Mittagsmagazin” (“Noon Magazine”), and the footage will air later this month, he said.

“I think they were really moved; they had many teary-eyed moments,” Tamburello said of the crew’s overall experience between both schools.

Emily’s mother, Ellen Stoddard-Keyes, reported Monday that there were 2,175 motorcycle riders including passengers for the third annual gathering sponsored by the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, and 126 registered for the 5K Run, a second event on Saturday.

Ellen said her family was “wowed” by the turnout.

“It's uncommon for so many bikers to come together for one event,” Ellen said. “This kind of response further motivates us to move forward on the creation of our school safety program and make it as effective as possible.”

The amount of donations raised on Saturday was reported to be $45,851. A portion of this year’s funds will go to a new initiative — the National School Safety Collaborative — established by Emily’s parents and associates through the “I love U Guys” Foundation.

The program involves the development of a shared database that would help schools devise the most effective safety plans for their needs. Information would be gathered from educators, parents, law enforcement, first responders and other community members. Sharing the data would be possible through the development of an online technology to distribute it.

The Keyes have found no other information network that provides this kind of shared data — information that could, they believe, help schools strategize the best safety solutions based on their size and circumstances.

Other organizations that will benefit from Saturday’s event include the Mountain Peace Shelter, Bridges to Peace, Mountain Resource Center and Bailey Youth Drop-In Center.

“The shooting at the school affected so many people, and the loss of Emily compounded our grief exponentially,” Ellen said. “I feel that in order keep on functioning personally, and as a member of our community, I need to act on solutions to the problems which led up to this.”

Emily Keyes, 16, was fatally shot at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey in September 2006 by a gunman who took hostages at the school.