Mother taking action to keep daughter's memory alive

A Pinellas County mother is working to keep her daughter’s memory alive after she was tragically killed in a crash.

On Monday night, Olivia Red’s former soccer team honored her during a game just days away from what would’ve been her 21st birthday. 

“Honestly, tonight means everything because it’s almost Liv’s birthday. So everything that we were going to do is for Liv,” said Kacey Feeney, a Seminole High School soccer player who was Olivia’s friend.

She was a friend, a record-holding Seminole High soccer player and a daughter. Olivia was killed by a drunk driver in Pennsylvania in May.

“The family is grieving, and it’s a process. But if we can see good back to the community, we don’t want her to be a statistic,” said Tracy Del Vecchio, Olivia’s mother, who attended the game to share in the memory of her daughter.

Del Vecchio said she is working on a scholarship award called the Side By Side Humanitarian Award for students who volunteer and do random acts of kindness in the community. She is also laying the groundwork for a nonprofit called Liv Red, working with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Del Vecchio is also working to find a Florida lawmaker and Pennsylvania lawmaker to co-sponsor a bill to reform drunk driving laws. The drunk driver suspected of killing Del Vecchio’s daughter is criminally charged in Pennsylvania, and she said her family will have to wait until after the criminal case has wrapped up before deciding what they want to change in the laws.

People who knew and loved Olivia described her as an inspiring person who stood up for others.

“That’s who Olivia was. She was good, she was kind. She was the kid that stood up against bullying, no man left behind,” said Del Vecchio.

Olivia’s friends and former teammates made sure her mother knew how much she meant to them.

“After her last game, I remember she was just crying and we all went up to hug her,” said Grace Palmer, a Seminole soccer player who played with Olivia.

After holding a moment of silence at half-time, the team her mom 14 white roses for her jersey number 14, which is now worn by one of her friends.

“Liv was honestly one of the funniest people, and she made sure that everyone came first,” said Feeney. And those who loved her know she will stay with them in their hearts.

“She was the first one to pick you up. She was also the first one to set you straight, keep it real. She was just a good kid, a really good kid,” said Del Vecchio.

Olivia was transferring to a school up in Pennsylvania to study medicine after first attending St. Petersburg College. She would have been 21 years old on Sunday, November 18.