ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cloaked In White - Honoring Courtney Wilkes

Updated on July 2, 2013

About Courtney

Courtney was a bright, vivacious, joyful teenager. A compassionate soul, her peers describe her as "someone you could always go to about anything, because you knew she would care." Almost sixteen, Courtney was at the top of her class academically, as well as, to put in the words of her classmates, "the top of our hearts." A young athlete, Courtney was a member of her high school soccer team. She was the eldest of three children to Cordy and Toni Wilkes.

Most important to Courtney, was to constantly share the love of her Heavenly Father to others -- which she was successful at doing, as evidenced by the high regard her peers hold for her.

For more on Courtney, please read this article:

Picture of Courtney from the Facebook Memorial/Prayer page
Picture of Courtney from the Facebook Memorial/Prayer page
Facebook profile pictures have changed to a sea of blue and red in honor of Courtney Wilkes' life and to show support and love for her family and friends.
Facebook profile pictures have changed to a sea of blue and red in honor of Courtney Wilkes' life and to show support and love for her family and friends.

The Tragedy

Courtney and her family vacationed at Seagrove Beach in Florida June 2011. A young man befriended them - telling them about his job at their resort, about his teen life, and earning their trust as he spent time with the entire family throughout the week.

Last Thursday, he invited Courtney to walk the beach with him. It was the middle of the day, the beach was well trafficked, and he had earned the trust of the family. Four hours later, Courtney's parents saw him, but not Courtney. He said he left Courtney walking on the beach.

He had left Courtney -- but not walking on the beach. He had assaulted her and beaten her to death. Soon, Courtney's family learned that the man's story was a fabrication - he was not employed at the resort, he was 21, and had just been kicked out of his house.

Showing Support

Words cannot wrap around the raw emotion of anyone hearing this story -- much less those who knew her or her family. I knew her grandparents and uncle, and was familiar with the family. I did not know Courtney personally. Words seem trite. Her classmates are in shock and confusion. A community that is steeped in faith of Jesus Christ and a loving Father has asked tough questions.

Sometimes there are no "right" answers -- only "right" direction -- to run into the arms of a loving Heavenly Father. And to run in the path of unconditional love. The community is showing its love and support to the Wilkes family by placing white bows on storefronts, mailboxes, front doors, car antenna. Today, the first day of summer, a group is meeting at the Pal Theatre, downtown Vidalia, to distribute white bows and balloons, as well as signs -- to blanket the community in white... a symbol of purity... for pure love, fervent prayer, and support. I, a few hundred miles southwest of my hometown, am doing the same.

Somehow this outpouring of love will help heal the family -- strengthening them. I am asking you to do the same -- put a white bow or balloon on your storefront, door, mailbox in honor of life and to show your support. Not knowing someone does not make our hearts immune to the sorrow of Courtney's death. Supporting her loved ones will, I believe, strengthen community and help bear this unimaginable burden.

This gesture is symbolic that we, as Americans, as human beings, love LIFE. We mourn loss of Life. We grieve when others hurt. Join us! Post pictures of your white bow or balloon, or leave a comment on Courtney's memory page on Facebook {original support page has since been removed - go to facebook and search "In memory of Courtney Ann Wilkes"} nd leave a message of your commitment. I spoke with the Director of the Children's Advocacy Group in the Seagrove Beach community -- they are participating as well. (Thank you, Julie, for getting your PR staff on this!) Post this hub to your Facebook and encourage your friends, family and acquaintances to join our effort to pour love through a symbolic gesture.

Love bears all things... Courtney's family, friends and community need a lot of love.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Courtney's killer was found guilty last month. I added a link to a news article.

    • breathe2travel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      Thank you to everyone who came by and offer condolences.

    • AOEHM profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      I light a candle and send love and light with honor and prayer to beautiful angel Courtney, her family and all who knew her.



    • profile image


      8 years ago

      am looking for a soulmate

    • profile image

      A grieving Mother 

      8 years ago


      Lynda Boucugnani-Whitehead, Ph.D.

      This will not be the typical article you often see in a professional

      ...publication. There will be no references to scholarly works, no

      discussion of what has been gleaned from years of research, no

      statistics, no methodology. Rather, this will be a story from the

      heart, one that I hope may help psychologists first understand, and

      then do what they do best. I had the inspiration to write this

      article just a week or so before the tragedy in New York. In my

      frame of reference, following the horror at the World Trade Center

      and Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, perhaps this is divine inspiration

      - this is something I just have to do.

      What is it like to live through such a profound grief, to have your

      whole life changed in an instant, to have much of your future taken

      away, and to find yourself in a world that you don't recognize?

      We have all had at least a taste of this, as Americans, our lives

      have been changed by these events. There is a loss of a sense of

      security and for what we thought our future would be. But what about

      those people who have sustained a more profound and excruciating

      loss - the loss of a loved one who was treasured and so much a part

      of the fabric of your very life. What is it like to have that person

      taken away so abruptly, to one minute have that loved one beside you

      as a part of your dream, and the next to have that love ripped away

      from you? What do psychologists and other helping professionals need

      to know in order to help those who have sustained such a loss?

      This story is very personal for me and, therefore, somewhat difficult

      to tell. As many of you know, my daughter, Maria-Victoria, was

      killed in an automobile accident just three blocks from my home as

      her brother was driving her home from school. A speeding driver ran

      through a red light and smashed into their car killing Maria-Victoria

      instantly. She was 13 years old. It was a normal day, bright and

      sunshiny and my life was going along as normal. My daughter was a

      beautiful, intelligent and accomplished person known for her

      extraordinary kindness and compassion for others. She was innocence

      and pure love blossoming into a leader of others and she was building

      the confidence that could have taken her very, very far in this

      life. In one second she was here, in one second she was not. The

      fifth anniversary of her death was just 2 days after the New York


      Within a few months of her passing, I joined a group called

      Compassionate Friends, which is a self-help group for parents who

      have lost children. It was a very good move. It is said that the

      most profound loss a person can have is the loss of a child - I

      can tell you that this is the truth. However, for those who have not

      lost children, the most profound loss is the one they have

      experienced or are experiencing at the present time. Those of us in

      this group frequently lament about how ill-equipped others who have

      not experienced such pain and grief are in dealing with it.

      Ministers are often the focus of such discussions for example and we

      have often discussed how we can let others, especially professionals,

      know how it really is - what helps and sometimes, more importantly,

      what doesn't help. This is the purpose of this story - this

      Dialogue - to let my fellow psychologists know some things that

      in the future will help them be able to help. It is based on my own

      personal experiences as well as the numerous Compassionate Friends

      who have come into my life.

      You have all heard or read about the stages of grief. The work that

      was done in this area by pioneers such as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is

      very valuable in understanding the emotions of grief. Some

      professionals may feel that they can help people with grief because

      they have studied these stages and know the sequence by heart. Throw

      it all away. People who have sustained profound loss do not want to

      hear about the stages of grief - it's almost an insult. They

      do want to know that what they are feeling is normal, that they are

      not "crazy", that others have felt or done the same things.

      There is no sequence of grief - it is a constant, evolving journey

      with many diversions into emotional peaks and valleys along the way.

      It is a journey and it is never over.

      It is true that at the time of the event you are in a state of shock

      and numbness. In my case after a telephone call, I made my way to

      the accident site. It was eerily quiet with cars backed up in four

      different directions at the intersection, so that I had to drive on

      the wrong side of the road to get there. When I got to the scene I

      was no longer within myself, I must have dissociated. I felt like I

      was observing everything as if I was in a movie. The people in all

      the cars were watching me. I imagined they were saying "that's the

      mother". I was aware that I was playing this "role". I

      imagine that many of the relatives looking for loved ones in New York

      must have felt this way too. At the hospital I was placed in a

      special room - meant to be a comfort but cut off from others. It did

      allow me to get out of the movie. What helped? Friends coming to be

      with me. You need to hold and touch people - you need them to hold

      you and just "be there" for you. What didn't help? Waiting 1

      ½ hours to be told whether my children were alive or dead. I already

      knew in my heart and soul that Maria-Victoria was gone from this life

      but to have a doctor finally come in and say in a cool and

      dispassionate manner that "your daughter is deceased" made me angry.

      A simple "I'm so sorry", a touch on the hand and some semblance of

      compassion would have endeared this doctor to me for life. Why is

      that so hard to do?

      We are blessed with this state of shock that comes almost immediately

      after suffering a traumatic loss. It allows us to do the things we

      have to do. For many of us this is very, very important. I needed

      to make sure that Maria-Victoria had a wonderful, up-lifting funeral

      service that told the world about the wonderfulness of my little

      girl. I needed to write an obituary that would touch the hearts of

      Atlanta. I needed to comfort her teachers and students at her

      school, thereby comforting myself. I needed to be there for the

      hundreds of people who came to show they cared. Some people

      criticized the news coverage in New York of friends and relatives

      showing flyers of their missing loved ones saying it was

      exploitation. I spoke to them through my TV set saying - "you

      just don't get it - they need to do this -they need to let

      others know about the one they love - they need to feel like they are

      doing something to take care of them."

      What helped me so much in the initial weeks after the accident were

      touches from the hearts of other people. I savored all the cards,

      the incredible amount of food from individuals and whole schools,

      letters and phone calls from people I had never met who were touched

      by my daughter's story and the physical presence of people I was

      close to. Such heartfelt gestures give life when life has gone out

      of your existence.

      There is a time when you have to go back to work and start to live

      this new life. I was fortunate to have such a wonderful, supportive

      staff that literally carried me through that first year. Others are

      not so fortunate. Some have to go back to work just days after the

      funeral and are expected to perform as if nothing has happened. When

      a traumatic loss has struck you, you are amazed and perhaps a little

      bit angry that the world has gone on. You say to yourself, "how

      can these normal things still go on - how can people laugh -

      don't they know the world has ended?" You think to yourself that you

      will never laugh again, that you will never feel joy again - it's


    • profile image

      Angela Hansen 

      8 years ago

      My thoughts and prayers are with u and your family. From the sound of this story courtney sounded like a pretty amazing girl. Only god knows why he chose her to be in his presence and he will give your family the strength to move on and will have his arms out to you daily. I will pray for your family daily. Courtney is now in the arms of our lord jesus christ and is in a better place than we are.

    • profile image

      Minister DeWayne Matthews Sr. 

      8 years ago

      My prayers are with the family, in the time of there lost and may God give you comfort in this time.

    • Honorablewoman profile image


      8 years ago from Georgia

      May this family find comfort in God's loving arms.

    • profile image

      susie andring 

      8 years ago

      Omg my heart goes out to your family. I too lost. A daughter almost 10 years ago. Total different circumstances but any loss of a child is very. Umbearable. My daughter was killed in metter in 2001 if you ever need to talk. Look me up on facebook

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My heart goes out to this family and all of those who were friends of Courtney. She and her family are obviously well-thought of in the community. We pray for them each day as they show their faith and courage in the face of this terrible ordeal. God is their strength and comfort.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Courtney was a always working hard with her mother and at school. She touched the hearts of many, always kind and smiling. We will all miss you. Sweet dreams.

    • profile image

      A. Stephens 

      8 years ago

      I cannot belive this sick world we live in. Our children are never safe. :( RIP sweet girl, you are in a much better place. My thoughts and prayers are with the family who are suffering from this horrible loss.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Being a Father with a daughter I can't feel a sense of rage toward the senseless act done toward this child of God - I agree it difficult times like these we need to rely on our heavenly Father for direction and comfort

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Girl, put your name on this page. You articulate so beautifully of God's loving-kindness and steadfastness. Your gift will make a way for you. Love and Blessings.

    • profile image

      vhs soccer player 

      8 years ago

      I didn't know courtney...but I did play soccer against her. She was an amazing girl from how she acted and represented herself. We'll miss her...and we know she's in a much better place now.

    • profile image

      marie moore 

      8 years ago

      I pray that God will give this family peace and love and help to heal their hurting hearts..God be with them.

    • profile image

      JoAnn Tindall 

      8 years ago

      I am very touched by this tragedy. My prayers are with the family. I did not know Courtney , however I can see she was a I beautiful person.

    • profile image

      Jared Sharpe 

      8 years ago

      I never knew Courtney, but my parents knew her family well enough to know that they are great people. When I heard about Courtney's story I couldn't sleep, so I stayed up and prayed for her and the Wilkes family for a long time. What happened to Courtney is more terrible than I can imagine, but I do believe that God is good enough to heal the Wilkes family in ways that I could never imagine as well. It's obvious that Courtney had a beautiful heart because her life is still bringing people together with compassion even though her spirit is with God. I along with many, many others will continue to pray for supernatural healing and peace for her family, and I am thankful that Courtney is still very much alive the lives of the people who she loved while she was here.

    • profile image

      Sarah Williams 

      8 years ago

      I will definitely be getting a white ribbon to show my love and support. Her grandparents are members at our church and we also knew Courtney and her immediate family pretty well. Ever since Thursday it has seemed so unreal and almost as if it's a dream but now that the funeral arrangements have been made its really sinking in and its hard to read anything about it without just crying because that's the only thing you can do


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)