Home

“DON'T LET TRAGEDY DEFINE US.
DON'T LET THE DARKNESS WIN.”

Pastor Paul Fazio

On February 20, 2016, a random and violent tragedy struck Kalamazoo, Michigan, when a man went on a shooting spree. Six lives were lost, two people were seriously injured and our communities were changed forever.

And then on June 7, 2016, another senseless tragedy struck the Kalamazoo community. Nine bicyclists were struck down by a pickup truck driver. Five of the cyclists were killed, four suffered serious injuries, and our community was again shocked with grief, pain and tragedy.

In the wake of these evil acts, Kalamazoo showed unwavering resolve. We embraced the families of the victims and gained strength from their courage. We grew after these devastating events, and they have made us steadfast in our goal to keep hope alive.

The Purpose of the ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation is to strengthen our communities as we honor the victims and survivors of mass tragedies. While we work to create a memorial, consisting of several unique sections, that will stand as a place to gather, reflect, draw strength, celebrate life, grow and inspire one another to reach our full potential, we prove again that our communities will stand together and remain committed to fostering hope for a better tomorrow.

mission
top-gradient
purple-gradient-left bubu

Donate

If you would like to contribute to this symbol of strength and hope for our communities, click Donate to make a secure, tax deductible donation. All of your generous financial contributions will go to fund the development and construction of the ForeverStrong Memorial.

We invite you to join ForeverStrong and sign up for our mailing list. You’ll receive project progress reports, fundraising goal statuses, and more. Click here to sign up.

Donate

If you would like to contribute to this symbol of strength and hope for our communities, click Donate to make a secure, tax deductible donation. All of your generous financial contributions will go to fund the development and construction of the ForeverStrong Memorial.

We invite you to join ForeverStrong and sign up for our mailing list. You’ll receive project progress reports, fundraising goal statuses, and more. Click here to sign up.

ForeverStrong Memorial

To preserve the legacies of the lives taken and forever changed and give our community a special place to come together, reflect, remember and heal, a memorial will be developed. The memorial will consist of several unique sections such as a physical memorial, walking paths, and an innovative soccer center. The ForeverStrong Memorial will pay tribute to each of the victims and survivors, and symbolizes the notion that – though our collective conscience has been shattered –  darkness will not win.

Together we are ForeverStrong.

ForeverStrong Memorial

To preserve the legacies of the lives taken and forever changed and give our community a special place to come together, reflect, remember and heal, a memorial will be developed. The memorial will consist of several unique sections such as a physical memorial, walking paths, and an innovative soccer center. The ForeverStrong Memorial will pay tribute to each of the victims and survivors, and symbolizes the notion that – though our collective conscience has been shattered –  darkness will not win.

Together we are ForeverStrong.

Memorial Soccer Center

The ForeverStrong Memorial Soccer Center, to be built in loving memory of soccer aficionado Tyler Smith and his #1 fan and father, Rich Smith, will feature the only professional indoor 11v11 soccer fields in Southwest Michigan -- meeting a significant need within the soccer community, as Kalamazoo-based soccer clubs currently need to travel several hours to play 11v11 tournaments. With the development of the Center, the Southwest Michigan soccer community will have a new, state-of-the-art facility to play and host events, helping to attract new revenue and grow our reputation as a destination city. 

Join us and sign up for our mailing list to get involved and stay informed of progress. Click here to sign up.

Memorial Soccer Center

The ForeverStrong Memorial Soccer Center, to be built in loving memory of soccer aficionado Tyler Smith and his #1 fan and father, Rich Smith, will feature the only professional indoor 11v11 soccer fields in Southwest Michigan -- meeting a significant need within the soccer community, as Kalamazoo-based soccer clubs currently need to travel several hours to play 11v11 tournaments. With the development of the Center, the Southwest Michigan soccer community will have a new, state-of-the-art facility to play and host events, helping to attract new revenue and grow our reputation as a destination city. 

Join us and sign up for our mailing list to get involved and stay informed of progress. Click here to sign up.

Sunshine FunFest

Get your tickets to come have some family fun bowling at Airway Lanes 6-10pm on June 23rd in memory of mass shooting victims, Rich and Tyler Smith! A Taco buffet will be provided, including unlimited soft drinks and unlimited bowling. There'll be a silent auction with amazing items that you won't want to miss! Majority of proceeds will go to charity. Hosted by ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation.

DBSS Sunshine Tournament

ANNOUNCING the 1st DBSS Sunshine Tournament June 24-25 to celebrate the life of Kalamazoo mass shooting victim and premier soccer player, 17-year-old Tyler Smith. Anyone youth through adult who loves to play soccer can form a team. Only birth certificates are required. Majority of proceeds will go to charity. Get details and sign up by June 10.

Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith, PMP

Founder, President, and Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Campaign Program Manager, VML, Inc.

"I founded ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation as hope for me, the other families and our communities shattered by senseless tragedy - that through giving of ourselves and creating a place to reflect, befriend, and inspire others to not give up and be the best they can be – our hearts will learn how to beat again, and we will have purpose rather than just “making it through” each day. Our purpose now is to carry on their legacies and create something beautiful for our community to embrace, grow, draw strength and make a difference in each other’s lives. I hope you will join us, because together we are ForeverStrong."

Nate Hawthorne

Nate Hawthorne

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Realtor, Jaqua Realtors

“Tragedy has brought our families together. Hope will continue to bond us. Supporting each other is what we do. ForeverStrong is a way to be a part of something positive in the wake of horrible loss.”

Mickey Seelye

Mickey Seelye

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Chief Operations Officer/Vice President of Seelye Auto Group
Owner/Operator of Seelye Ford and KIA of Kalamazoo

“The Forever Strong Memorial Foundation/Project is important to me in remembering the lives lost and impacted in the Kalamazoo community on 02-20-2016.  While many lives will never be the same, the love and strength of our community stood tall in toughest of times.  This Memorial gives our community an opportunity to remember that same love and strength going forward while honoring the families who were impacted the most.”

Jack Hopkins

Jack Hopkins

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Retired, former Pres. of Nazareth College (1975-83) and former Pres. of Kalamazoo Community Foundation (1983-2008)
founder of Jack Hopkins Consulting Services, LLC
partner in Phoenix Properties, LLC
member in Hopkins Associates, LLC, Investment Associates, LLC and STHOP Ventures, LLC

“I joined the board for the initial six months of its incorporation to help its formation, to satisfy its Mission and to help it achieve its Vision because I am committed to helping our region through our mourning and healing process as a result of the tragic Feb. 20 injuries and loss of life at the hands of a gun man and the subsequent injuries and loss of life among bicyclists on June 7, 2016.  The major goal of the Foundation is to honor the victims and to create a gathering place for all of us to celebrate their lives and bring all people of our region together is positive and constructive ways that demonstrate the unity of our communities.”

Lynn Mohney

Lynn Mohney, PMP, CSM

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Manager, Solutions Delivery, VML, Inc.

"February 20, 2016 my twin sister’s husband and son were violently shot and killed while they were doing what they loved – looking at cars – my brother-in-law, Rich Smith and my nephew, Tyler Smith, who was like-a-son to me and a brother to my children. Our lives were shattered that day. We had to learn to breathe again-left with precious memories, we now search for purpose as each day we wake without them. The communities have embraced us with such unwavering love and support. The ForeverStrong Memorial will share the love and light of those we lost; celebrate life and give back the generosity shown to us."

Jeremiah Marriott

Jeremiah Marriott

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Account Executive, PNC Merchant Services

“The events of February 20, 2016 drew a line in the sand for me personally.  The time to say or to post who I am was no longer sufficient and doing became more important. Strength comes from action and we live in a phenomenal community that has strength and I felt called to step up to the plate. James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Stan Qualls

Stan Qualls

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

General Manager, Seelye KIA of Kalamazoo

"I'm here as part of the community to help be a shelter in the storms and comfort in tragedies, to bring hope to situations that seem hopeless."

Jeff Pernie

Jeff Pernie, PMP

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Site Manager, Jacobs Field Services North America

“I was quite close to one of the shooting victims of February 20, 2016. I hope to honor his memory while also recognizing all of the victim’s and provide a place for healing, remembrance, and celebration of each of their lives.”

Jack Routley

Jack Routley CHST,CHCM

Board member, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Saftey Manager Jacobs Field Services North America

“On February 20th  our community was forever changed by a senseless act of violence. Among the victims were my friend and his son.  I, like the rest of the community were shocked. In the aftermath of that day I witnessed our community come together like no other. The opportunity to serve  on the ForeverStrong Board will allow me to help in keeping that alive. To  give back to the community something special and enduring.”

Kelley Graves

Kelley Graves

Secretary, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Executive Assistant, Seelye Auto Group

“One of the shootings that occurred on February 20th happened at my place of employment. Each day as I walked past the memorial it reminded me of the sanctity of life and how fleeting our moments here on earth are. Being involved with the Foundation is a way to honor those lives lost and those whose lives were forever changed.”

Tyler Lovejoy

Tyler Lovejoy

Treasurer, ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation

Internet Director, Seelye Ford of Kalamazoo

“This Foundation is going to provide a safe place for the victims, their families and the entire community to come together to honor those whose lives were taken in a tragic way. It will be a place for all to come and heal from these events. I am so honored to be a part of this move we are making as a region to carry out the mission and vision for years to come.”

Contact Us

OUR PARTNERS

The businesses involved are donating their time and efforts.