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A Chicago woman won’t stop working to honor her friend who died saving her life in 2007.

In a recent interview with The Grio, Tiara Reed opened up about what happened one late spring day when her dear friend Blair Holt was killed. 

It was 85 degrees that day,” she recalls. “In Chicago, we never have 85 degrees in May. I think the whole school was excited and was like, oh let’s go outside, let’s do something.

After leaving school, the then-16 year-old Chicagoan got on the bus with her friends. All of a sudden, another teen walked on the bus and opened fire on the passengers striking Reed and four others. 

Tiara stressed that if it wasn’t for Blair covering her during the shooting, she would have died: While she was only struck in the foot, he was fatally injured.

His life ended too soon,” Tiara said in her interview. “He was a wonderful, wonderful person. Blair was [friends with everyone]. All of us started school together, everyone — all of us were was supposed to [graduate] together, but we didn’t.

And since that tragic day almost a decade ago, Tiara has vowed to live a full, meaningful life that encompasses paying Blair’s act of bravery forward. At 25-years-old, she currently holds a master’s degree in criminal justice and is currently working as a criminal analyst researcher in Illinois, The Grio noted.

I like to be there to help my own people,” she told the website. “I like to be able to help African-American citizens — just someone who knows the law and can actually go out and give a helping hand.

Taira hopes to continue on with her education in social work and eventually work for the FBI. And Blair’s family is proud of who Tiara has grown up to be.

I’m very happy for Tiara,” said Ronald Holt.

Holt, who is also the Commander and Executive Officer of the Community Relations Division with the Chicago Police Department, added, I’m very proud of her because I think she is moving in the right direction and I think that her cause is not just for her but as a remembrance and a legacy of Blair.

In the end, Tiara stresses that her work and gratitude are far from being over.

“[The shooting] changed me because, before this — before that, I never even thought about furthering my education past a high school diploma,” she said. “So just going through a tragedy, it basically it woke me up; it’s real life and it made me strive and go harder every day.

Beautiful.

Read Tiara Reed’s interview in its entirety here.

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