Stillwater, OK is special to me for many reasons and I’m sure you will see me out at a tailgate or two this fall. As of late though, during these summer months, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in the area meeting with crime victims, advocates, and law enforcement officers learning of the specific stories and trials that locals are navigating in Payne County.
One of our biggest supporters in Stillwater is a powerhouse of a woman and mother, Kelly Vierling. Kelly offered for Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma to have an informational table at the 3rd Annual “Lift Like Alex” (LLA) golf scramble and auction and we were grateful for the opportunity. LLA was established in honor of the memory of her youngest son, and this year’s event happened to fall on what would have been Alex’s 24th birthday.
LLA also serves as a fundraising event benefiting an annual recipient courageously battling some sort of physical or developmental disability, much in the same way Alex spent his free time: to “lift” them up. The day before LLA Kelly invited us into her home and we were able to chat with her and some family members amongst beautiful family photos as they prepared for the next day’s festivities.
During the event in nearby Perkins, OK we were so warmly welcomed. There were only traces of the pain and anguish of a community attempting to make something long-lasting and positive from the tragedy of a young, vibrant life taken by gun violence – certainly Alex’s presence was felt throughout the day. Most memorable, the family coordinated a moment of celebration, exclaiming “Happy Birthday, Alex” along with a balloon release before the scramble commenced.
It was a special observance for everyone in attendance.
We’re motivated by the resilience of our local communities and we will continue to work hard, fighting the good fight on behalf of crime victims in Oklahoma!