2 REALTORS® Lost Daughters in Fla. Shooting

February 26, 2018

Update: A third REALTOR®, Mitchell Dworet of Skye Louis Realty in Coconut Creek, Fla., lost his 17-year-old son, Nicholas, in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Read more.

As students return to class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., more than a week after a gunman opened fire in the hallways, killing 17 people, two young girls who won’t reunite with their friends and teachers are the daughters of local REALTORS®.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, and Meadow Pollack, 17, were among the dead in the Valentine’s Day shooting. Guttenberg’s father, Fred Guttenberg, a sales associate at Charles Rutenberg Realty in Fort Lauderdale, and Pollack’s mother, Shara Kaplan, a sales associate at Coldwell Banker in Boca Raton, have set up GoFundMe pages for memorial funds in their children’s honor.

“Certainly, everyone is very thankful for the monetary support, but there are still empty bedrooms—and they’re filled with tears,” says Guttenberg’s broker, Cynthia Bencheck. “These 17 innocent lives that have been taken from us are multiplied by those who lived because they keep reliving these deaths. So we certainly have a lot of healing to do, and it starts with all of us.” Guttenberg’s brokerage is encouraging its agents to donate money in Jaime’s memory to an organization she volunteered with called The Friendship Initiative, which serves people with special needs.

Separately, Guttenberg has also launched Orange Ribbons for Jaime, a nonprofit honoring his daughter’s love for dance and her favorite color, orange. Jaime’s memory has inspired dancers across the country, who have been donning orange ribbons in the last week.

Kaplan could not be reached for comment and has not spoken publicly about the tragedy. Guttenberg has been vocal about school safety issues in the aftermath of the shooting that took his daughter’s life, appearing in a televised CNN town hall with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) and saying he plans to use Orange Ribbons for Jaime as a platform to discuss school safety.

“My daughter was hunted at school, running to save her life,” Guttenberg said during the CNN town hall last Wednesday. “All I did was send my daughter to school on Valentine’s Day. And today, I’m visiting her in the cemetery.” Guttenberg later told reporters that he was touched by the outpouring of support for his family. “The way people have honored my baby this week has restored my faith,” he said.

As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaigns for Jaime Guttenberg and Meadow Pollack had raised $58,477 and $107,633, respectively.

The shooting thrust the city of Parkland into international headlines at a precarious time: Just two days prior, the town had been named the fifteenth safest place to live in the nation by real estate data company NeighborhoodScout. The shooting is the ninth deadliest in modern U.S. history, according to reports.

—Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine