One Year Later: When Tragedy Hits Home
Start writing a post

One Year Later: When Tragedy Hits Home

We are and will always be Kalamazoo Strong

One Year Later: When Tragedy Hits Home
Kalamazoo Strong Organization

On February 20th, 2016, Jason Dalton, a local uber driver, went on a shooting rampage that rocked my home of Kalamazoo. During this tragic event, six beautiful lives were lost and two others were severely injured. At this time, it seemed that all hope was lost and our sense of safety was gone.

On this day, I happened to be competing in Italy with my college synchronized skating team, but my family and friends were at home. I originally discovered what had happened while on Twitter. I sat their shocked, confused, and helpless as post after post asking for prayers filled my timeline. I panicked for the safety of my loved ones wishing I could help them. I remember when the first official details were released, and I was in complete disbelief. Thoughts were flying through my head. "How could this happen in my home?" When something like this happens, it never seems real until it happens to you.

In light of this tragedy, our community came together, offering each other support. A candlelight vigil was hosted downtown in Bronson Park two days after the initial incident. Hundreds of people in the community came together to honor those who were lost in the shooting. The members of our tight knit community refused to back down; we knew we had to unite, to lift one another up during a tough time. Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell was in attendance. He said, “tonight is a demonstration that he can’t do that, that we can feel the pain but can move beyond the pain.” He was exactly right. We could not let this man keep us from feeling safe in our home.

Throughout the year other events we hosted to honor the victims of the Feb. 20th shooting. Organizations like the Kalamazoo Wings Hockey team had a tribute game. The Kalamazoo FC soccer team, who pride themselves deeply on community connection, dedicated their final game of the season to honor those we lost. They were able to raise thousands of dollars to contribute to the Kalamazoo Strong Organization. This game was extremely personal for one of the Kalamazoo FC members, as Tyler Smith, the teen who was killed in the tragedy, was his classmate.

On February 20th, 2017, the one year anniversary, there will be a candle light vigil at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, starting at 6:30 p.m. All of the victims and survivors will be remembered by members of the community. All are welcome to come out and support the event.

Kalamazoo has been my home my entire life, and it will forever be my home. Together we can and will always be Kalamazoo Strong.

My thoughts and condolences go out to the Kalamazoo shooting victims families, friends and loved ones. Anyone interested in making a donation, or for more information on the Kalamazoo Strong Organization click here.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!

A man with a white beard and mustache wearing a hat

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Keep Reading...Show less

Remember The True Meaning of Christmas

“Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you?”

A painting of the virgin Mary, the baby Jesus, and the wise men

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas. Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.

boy standing in front of man wearing santa claus costume Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash

What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ. Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.

Keep Reading...Show less
Golden retriever sat on the sand with ocean in the background
Photo by Justin Aikin on Unsplash

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my dog. I am constantly talking about my love for her. I attribute many of my dog's amazing qualities to her breed. She is a purebred Golden Retriever, and because of this I am a self-proclaimed expert on why these are the best pets a family could have. Here are 11 reasons why Goldens are the undisputed best dog breed in the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

Boyfriend's Christmas Wishlist: 23 Best Gift Ideas for Her

Here are the gifts I would like to ask my boyfriend for to make this season unforgettable.

Young woman opening a Christmas gift

Recently, an article on Total Sorority Move called 23 Things My Boyfriend Better Not Get Me For Christmas, was going around on social media. I hope the author of this was kidding or using digital sarcasm, but I am still repulsed and shocked by the lack of appreciation throughout this article. I would like to represent the girlfriends out there who disagree with her standpoint -- the girlfriends who would be more than happy to receive any of these gifts from their boyfriends.

Keep Reading...Show less
Two teenage girls smiling

The 2000s were a time that many young adults today can look back on, joyfully reminisce and somewhat cringe at the trends and the fads that we all used to love and adore. Here's a list of things from the golden 2000s that will have one feeling nostalgic about all of those times.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments