We can’t imagine what they must be feeling right now.
As we previously reported, former Miss New Jersey Cara McCollum passed away from the injuries she sustained in her horrible car crash earlier this month.
We’ve already seen her boyfriend’s touching tribute, but now more loved ones are remembering the time they shared with the lovely lady.
The blonde beauty had worked as the lead anchor at SNJ Today , and the station’s CFO Frank DiMauro only had fond memories of the
Miss America alum.
She was the one we went to when we were down, to help us feel better and to lift us up. She just kind of lit the place on fire.
The station leader also recalled the moment he added the 24-year-old to his news team, sharing:
I met with her, and when she came in she just lit the room up, it was really incredible. Her energy, her charisma, her passion. And I was really impressed.
He explained there was one moment he realized that the beauty queen wasn’t afraid of being adventurous and outdoorsy, revealing:
I remember I called her on a Sunday, she was with her parents in Arkansas, and of course you know you start off with, ‘How was your weekend? How’s your family? What did you do?’ And she said she had gone fishing with her father that day. And that’s something that I can recall doing with my own dad when I was a kid, and I said, ‘Did you do the whole worm-on-a-hook thing Cara?’ And she said, ‘Oh yeah,’ and I said I just wouldn’t think that with someone who was Miss New Jersey, who was a contestant in Miss America, and she said ‘Aw nah, I’m from Arkansas, we always grew up doing that kind of stuff out here.’
Frank said this quality is what inspired him to hire her:
To me, that totally embodied everything that Cara was. Because if you see her on the exterior in the media, you would think she’s this afraid-to-get-her-hands-dirty kind of person, but the reality was she was the complete opposite of that, she would roll her sleeves up. And then when we hired her, that’s exactly what she became. She would be fearless, she would just grab a camera and go out into these areas that I was scared to death that she would go to, and she’d go and get footage and come back and edit it and put it on the news. She was just fearless.
He confessed that her passing has been really difficult to accept, admitting:
In my heart at the time I believed this was the perfect opportunity for her, I still do. Who would’ve thought that she would’ve had a car accident and this would’ve happened. I wrestle with it.
My office is situated in such a way that you kind of look down on the door that everyone comes in the building everyday, and I just got so accustomed to see her come in each day, and leave at the end of the day, and I don’t know, there’s just a part of me that can’t get over it, I’m waiting for her to walk in through the door,” he says. “And it’s just not going to happen…. We loved her so much. There are no words to describe how much we’re going to miss her.
On Monday night, his station replaced its nightly news segment with an uninterrupted tribute to Cara.
But he wasn’t the only one to share his sadness. On Monday, 2014’s Miss America,
Nina Davuluri , shared a snap with the late journalist accompanied by a sentimental caption. Take a look (below):
Fellow former Miss New Jersey Lindsey Gianni also took to social media to remember the pageant star:
Princeton University , Cara’s alma mater, also shared a statement about her tragic death, writing:
RIP, Cara McCollum ’15, a former Miss New Jersey who died today a week after an automobile accident. https://t.co/Q14nTXoPm3
— Princeton University (@Princeton)
February 22, 2016
New Jersey governor Chris Christie also expressed his condolences:
Very sad to learn of the passing of Miss NJ 2013 Cara McCollum. Thoughts & prayers to her family, friends & the @MissAmericaOrg community.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) February 22, 2016
Our hearts are with everyone affected by this sad loss.