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Lynn University Honors Quake Victims With Day Of Service

BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) -- Thursday marks two years since a devastating earthquake shook Haiti and left more than 300-thousand people dead including four Lynn University students and two professors who perished when their Port-au-Prince hotel collapsed.

Thurday, students and faculty at the Boca Raton campus honored their lives with a day of remembrance and community service.

At 4:50 p.m., the exact time the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit on January 12, students paused for a moment of silence as a bell rang six times in a memory of the six who perished.

When the earthquake hit, the Lynn University group was on a "Journey of Hope" to bring food and aid to the poor.

The group was trapped in the Hotel Montana which had collapsed around and on top of them. They were Stephanie Crispinelli, Britney Gengel, Christine Gianacaci and Courtney Hayes, and faculty members Richard Bruno and Patrick Hartwick.

Eight other students survived including Missy Eliott and Tom Schloemer.

"It defines us. Who we are we have to live with it but it's made us better," said Schlomer. Fellow quake survivor Missy Eliott agreed. "We will continue to do good here and in Haiti," said Eliott.

Others who continue to do good are John and Jean Gianacaci, the parents of quake victim Christine Gianacaci.

Since their daughter's death, the Gianacaci's started "Christine's Hope for Kids," a foundation to help other children.

Thursday morning, the Gianacaci's delivered a $5,000 check from their foundation to the Florence Fuller Child Development Center which is located on Lynn University's campus.

"I hate to say it but sometimes we have our coffee and say people have no idea what's coming," said John Gianacaci.

"Everybody has a plan until that plan changes," said Jean.

The Gianacaci's altered life plan is now to keep that spirit of giving alive.

They've also created a Journey of Hope Award, which sponsors two students in Lynn's annual trip abroad to serve the poor.

Throughout the day, Lynn University students and staff are participating in community service projects on and off campus.

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