January 13, 2012 at 4:24 AM EST - Updated June 26 at 7:13 AM
BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) Thursday marked the second anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti killing more than 300,000 people. Two Lynn University professors and four students were on a mission trip at the time, and died when their hotel collapsed in the quake. Their families and friends say the best way to honor them is to carry on their torch of service.
Hundreds of current students and staff were out of the classroom and working in the community pledging their service Thursday.
Building homes with Habitat for Humanity is just one way they mourn their peers, and turn their grief into action.
"We're just trying to finish what they started. It's a great sense of accomplishment and we're happy to be a part of it," says Chris Boniforti, a Lynn employee.
"We're painting, H4H and beach cleanups, it's amazing how close everyone has become from such a terrible event," says Lynn student Spencer Carey.
Of the 14 people who took the mission trip, six were killed, including Christine Gianacaci. Her parents visited campus Thursday. They say life without her doesn't get easier, but seeing what has flourished in the midst of tragedy helps them cope. Foundations have been setup for each of the students killed to help those locally and in Haiti.
"That's how we're honoring Christine, it gives us satisfaction and we know she's driving this train," says John Gianacaci, Christine's father.
"It's been two years since we've seen our kids, it seems like yesterday, it's incomprehensible," says Jean Gianacaci, Christine's mother.
Students Tom Schloemer and Missy Elliot survived the quake. Their mission now is to motivate others to serve.
"We want to at least get the ball rolling with younger students so they can carry it on when we're not here, because if it stops, what good is it?" says Schloemer.