Dana Woods' mother reflects on daughter's life

  • Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dana Woods is pictured at her senior prom, with Caleb Fortney.

As the community tries to make sense of the death of Dana Woods, her mother has reached out to The Independent to share her thoughts about her child, who had the best of her life ahead of her.
“Dana is a sharp kid,” said Jennifer Hill on Wednesday morning. “My daughter is a good girl.”
Hill said her daughter was out on Saturday night doing a favor for her – taking her cousin home to the child’s mother in Pinopolis and then picking up her friend June Guerry to give her a ride home.
“(Dana and June) weren’t going out,” Hill said. “Dana doesn’t do that sort of thing. She was actually doing a favor for me.
“June and Dana loved each other so much. And I know Dana wants June found. Dana would have done anything to protect June so she could go home to her baby, and we’re all praying that June is found safe. I know Dana would want that.”
Woods, 18, had finished her final year of high school as a home schooled student with Berkeley County’s K-12 Virtual Charter School program. She was simultaneously taking college courses at Trident Tech.
“She is a sharp kid,” her mother said. “She had already finished two years of college courses. Dana wanted to go to law school eventually, at South Carolina. She was just beginning to get all the things she’s wanted in life, a new car, a phone, a computer. She has so much to look forward to and so much ahead of her.”
Hill continually called her daughter a good girl, a “techie,” one who had to have the latest, the newest and the best in technology.
“Dana has three computers in her room,” her mother said. “A desktop, a laptop and a tablet, and was often on at least two of them at the same time.
“She also has a Smart Phone. And that’s how I knew something was wrong because she is never off that Smart Phone.”
Hill remembered her daughter as one who would go out of her way to help and protect others and would often put their needs ahead of her own.
“She would often get off work at 8 p.m. when she worked at Burger King, come home and take a nap and then be back up there at 1 a.m. because there was a boy she worked with who needed a ride home and she would go back to give him a ride home all the way to Cross,” Hill said.
Dana Woods was loved by many people, her mother said.
“She was stubborn and hard headed and often she was a pain in the butt, but she worked her butt off so she could get ahead in life,” Hill said. “She was driven and ambitious and had so much ahead of her.”
Hill said at 18, Dana had just received her first credit card.
“She came up to me and said, ‘Look Mama, I have a credit card.’ She was so proud of that and so responsible with her money. She didn’t just take life by the horns. Dana was the bull that was charging ahead.”
Hill remembered a story about Dana in her class finals review and how her daughter was always one to play the practical joke: “In class before the teacher came in, Dana had grabbed the remote for the projector and while the teacher was giving instructions Dana was changing the image size on the screen. The other students were laughing and the teacher didn’t know what the problem was with the projector.
“Dana couldn’t help it and busted out laughing on the joke she played on the teacher. She was a prankster. She liked to mess with people like that. Her teacher said she’d be sure to get her back next semester.”
As a mother now deals with the void left behind by her daughter and struggles to cope with every parent’s horror, Hill’s thoughts turn to hers and Guerry’s families. Hill wants people to know about her daughter’s love for June Guerry.
 “Dana had this need to protect,” her mother continued. “Dana would do anything to protect those she loved. I suspect that’s what happened to her. She was protecting June.”
The days now have lost their color for a mother struggling to make sense of the loss of a daughter she loved more than anything in the world.
“Dana was all set to get her life going,” she said. “She had so much to look forward to out of life. Dana was such a good girl.”

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