BAY COUNTY, FLA. (WJHG/WECP) - One year ago, the Bay County community was shaken by the news of the murder of Alisa Kinsaul in her own home.
"A lot of us just talk about her and miss her and talk about missing her. I know it sounds silly," President of the United Way of Northwest Florida, Bryan Taylor said.
Now through stories and a new award dedicated in her name, her influence and memory live on.
"She's the kind of person that would walk into a room and just light the room up. She was just one of those people that everyone knew her," said friend and coworker Jennifer McCabe. "We continue to learn from her every day as we all reminisce and think about the times we had with her."
"I think her memory will live on for a long time. She'll be remembered for a lot of good things," said Taylor, who worked alongside Kinsaul on many programs and boards.
"She was very honest and loved everyone and wanted to be truthful with everyone. She wanted to talk closely and have close relationships with everyone and I think not only do we as her coworkers and community and friends miss her, but I think the world misses Alisa, because there are very few people that were like her," friend and colleague, Glen McDonald said.
As a philanthropist with many community organizations and through her job at Applied Research Associates in Panama City, Kinsaul was known for her loyalty, compassion and dedication to everything she did. Friends describe her an an unforgettable person.
"Alisa was a friend to all and she cared so much about her community and her family and her friends and the work that she did," ARA Marketing Communications Manager Rodney Walker said.
"She was very dedicated to everything she did. She was dedicated to her friendships, her work, her service int he community. You could always count on Alisa and I think that's one of the reasons she is missed so greatly," McCabe said.
Locals say she was an influential member of the Bay County community and there was rarely a cause she didn't contribute to.
"She had a heart for a lot of different causes but she really loved the arts and what she really loved about United Way was the ability to impact a wide range of organizations dealing with children, the elderly, the sick, the needy, the homeless, whatever the cause may be," Taylor said. "She was fully aware of her position in society, where she stood, and wanted to do as much as she could to help other people and to use her influence and connections positively to help other people."
Although it's been a difficult year moving forward, those close to Kinsaul said they can still feel her influence everywhere they go.
"It's mixed emotions, but it is great to remember her and remember the things she did," said Walker. "I'm reminded of her daily as we, you know, go forward and carry on the work that she did. And she's dearly missed. We miss her every day."
"I've been thinking about this as we come up on the one year mark of when she passed and I think the way I describe her is she truly cared about what is important, which is family, community, friends and especially her work. She loved it and we loved working with her," McDonald added.
And though Alisa is gone, she'll never be forgotten.
"I think when she was here she didn't realize the greater impact she had but I think she would be amazed at the legacy and memory she has left us all with because it was so great. We were all very proud of her," McDonald said.
"She's missed every day. We all love her for different reasons. We all knew her for different sides of her and I'm just glad that her legacy lives on," McCabe said.
Tuesday Kinsaul's ARA family honored her memory with the introduction of a new award dedicated to her: the Communication Professional of the Year Award.
"We would hope that she would have that sense of pride and self value that the things that she has influenced are still carrying on and that she will be an influence for a lot of people for a long, long time," Taylor said.
"This week has been very hard on us and reflecting back on Alisa, [the award] is a great way to remember her and remember all the things she did at this company and our community," said Walker.
Walker was the first recipient of the Communication Professional of the Year Award.