Theodore High’s band drum major honoring classmates gone too soon

Mobile County

THEODORE, Ala. (WKRG) — Two class of 2020 students at Theodore High taken too soon are being remembered this year is a small but special way.

Every year, the Theodore High School band’s drum major gets to design a part of his uniform. Chase Neilson thought this was the perfect opportunity to honor some of his former classmates who died before they got the chance to graduate. Their two names, Devinee and Tyler, are embroidered on the sleeve of Chase’s uniform heading into this season of performances.

“Just my way to show how proud I was of them and just carry them, because they deserve to be here and now they get to be with us again,” Neilson said.

Devinee Rooney, you may remember, lost her life in a head-on collision just days before she was set to graduate. Tyler Orbet passed away his freshman year after some medical complications. Both were band members, Devinee on the color-guard and Tyler a saxophone player.

Devinee’s and Tyler’s moms got the chance today to thank Chase for this small, but meaningful gesture on the very field where their children’s greatest happiness happened. Devinee’s mom Terri Rooney touched that a kid who felt it in his heart to honor them and it meant that much to him.

“That shows me how much my daughter meant to this community. I just wish Devinee could be here to see this,” Rooney said.

Tyler’s mom Jennifer Obert saying, “It lets me know that he wasn’t forgotten and he still has people who love him. I think it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.”

Both moms going on and on to Chase about how thankful they are and how highly they think of him. Chase now quite literally carrying his heart of his sleeve this season. “I have a sense of pride every time I see that sleeve. It just puts a smile on my face. I just miss them.”


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