The Hoyers have come to think of the Parkland shooting as more than a personal loss. It was the larger story of the intractability of American gun violence and school safety.

Not long after Luke died, they did something to reflect his interests: establishing the Luke Hoyer Athletic Fund, which pays for sports-related costs for foster children in Broward County.

Then they helped to form Stand With Parkland, an advocacy group representing most of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting. The Hoyers describe themselves as moderate Republicans who grew up around guns but don’t own any. Collectively, the group supports increasing mental health screening and support, school safety reform and responsible gun ownership, which includes “red-flag” laws that allow the authorities to take guns away from people who are shown to be a danger to themselves or others.

The couple considers the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act recently passed by Congress as a good first step. That package incorporates legislation — named for Luke and a classmate, Alex Schachter, who was also killed in the shooting — that establishes a federal clearinghouse to identify and share school safety best practices and recommendations.


Luke’s final resting place is in a cemetery in Broward County, chosen because it reminded Ms. Hoyer of her parents’ hometown, Joanna, S.C.

Luke Thomas Hoyer, 15, was the youngest of the family’s three children. The family called him “Lukey Bear.” He loved chicken nuggets, the Clemson Tigers and the Miami Heat. He spent the summer before his freshman year perfecting a new curly-top hairstyle. Just shy of six feet, Luke had gone through a growth spurt in both height and confidence. He loved basketball, but in the months before his death he had turned to football, and planned to try out for his high school team.

Luke’s parents are both comforted and shattered by ordinary memories — the way he watched ESPN every morning while eating his breakfast; or the way he raised one eyebrow when he was having an epiphany; or the long hours it took for him to mow the grass because he took so many breaks.

Sometimes the Hoyers are able to imagine what the future might have been like for Luke. They imagine the milestones that were just a few months and years away: a driver’s license; a high school prom; high school graduation (they received his diploma, awarded posthumously, last year); college admission; college graduation.

Now Luke comes to Ms. Hoyer in her dreams. Almost always, she is cupping his cheeks, telling him how much she loves him.

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