"My first year teaching I was lucky enough to have the fun, goofy, (talkative!!) and lovable Max Gruver in my class.😊This class was so special, my parents still have this picture up on their fridge in NH twelve years later! Rae Ann was my first ever room mom, and she truly helped me survive that first year! Rae Ann and Max, and then Stephen, Alex, and Lily Kate took me into their family, a girl who was a long way from home, and showed me how to love life in GA. The love that they all showed me over the years and the way I was able to watch all of the kids grow up was awesome. The closeness that ensued is something I will always cherish...especially when Rae Ann dressed up as me for Halloween!😁 The news of Max was so surreal and sad to hear. This could not be my Max, can't be. The sadness I feel I know is only 1% of what his family is feeling and that breaks my heart even more. I wanted to do something that would make what has happened to Max not be in vain, because he would want to help others. The 5th grade at SAE always leaves a legacy gift, and this year we are doing something with kindness. Max is whom I have in mind as we are having discussions about what we will do. As a teacher, I promise to you Max, and to the Gruver family, that EVERY single child I teach will know that they MUST have the COURAGE to CHOOSE kindness. It will be at the forefront of my message as a teacher so that when they leave my classroom, they will know who Max is and how he treated others, and what their role needs to be as a friend to someone else. Max and the Gruvers have made my life better and I have so many wonderful memories of sweet Max, and from this sadness, I hope to make all of them proud of how I remember Max! Love you Gruvers, more than you know!😙"
" I had to tell Rae Ann that Max was trying to buy 6 or 7 granola bars at lunch plus 3 or 4 ice creams on Friday! Rae said ummm nooo! When I told Max he couldn't buy all that stuff he said "Oh my mom was kidding, she's good with it"! Kept a smile on his face the whole time! He was hard to resist."
-Judy Schmitz McClure
NOTES FROM FRIENDS & FAMILY
"The past week has felt like an eternity for my family and I.
On Thursday, my cousin, Max Gruver, unexpectedly and tragically passed away. While our family and his friends have had to cope with the reality of this life-changing situation, one thing sticks out to all of us: this incident was completely preventable.
I am reminded, more than ever before, to stand up and speak out if a situation doesn't seem right, because chances are it probably isn't.
Whether we were spending summer days at Camp Gruver, watching Max play and coach youth sports, or creating a healthy and fun-loving UF vs. LSU family rivalry, Max's personal brand of authenticity and enthusiasm never went unnoticed.
While we all continue to live our lives, one thing is for certain: Max Gruver will never be forgotten, and I personally will make sure of that. Max, you know I've got big plans for your legacy, buddy- we all do."