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Honoring the memory of Melissa Jenkins

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The sidewalk outside the St. Johnsbury Academy is covered with notes and personal tributes for teacher Melissa Jenkins, while inside the restaurant where the 33-year-old worked at night, folks are struggling with the loss of the mother and friend.

"When I woke up this morning, I go, I hope this is just a dreadful nightmare," Marion Beattie Cairns said. "You wouldn't think anything like this would ever happen to Melissa."

Marion Beattie Cairns knew the Danville native since she was a little girl, and for more than a decade had been her boss at the Creamery Restaurant. She says Jenkins was kind-hearted, caring and generous.

"I think I don't have to say anything because anyone who knew her would say exactly the same thing I did; just a beautiful girl and just a life taken way too soon," Beattie Cairns said.

It's a life Jenkins' uncle, Martin Beattie, is remembering, as well.

"She was as pretty inside as out," Martin Beattie said.

Jenkins was a graduate of Danville High School and Lyndon State College.

"She always had the greatest smile even when things were kind of upside down she could deal with it in a great way," Beattie said.

Most recently the physics teacher and long-time basketball coach was working toward a master's degree at St. Michael's College.

"Whatever she committed herself to she did it 100 percent; whether it was working with my sister or school or teaching," Beattie said.

But what the young mom was most committed to, say her family and friends, was the little boy she now leaves behind.

"That little boy meant everything to her," Marion Beattie Cairns said. "Like I told you before, she would cut her arms off to save that little boy. I can't imagine anyone taking her away from that child."

A child that will now grow up without her, but with memories folks say will stay with him forever.

"I think he knows everything about his mom," Beattie Cairns said. "She was a great mom."

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