(STILLWATER, Okla., November 3, 2015) In a reflection of the unity of Stillwater and Oklahoma State University, the community gathered Tuesday in Gallagher-Iba Arena on the OSU campus to honor lives lost and lives saved in the Oct. 24 tragedy.
In addition to honoring the four who died in the incident, the community wide memorial allowed victims of the tragedy and their families to thank the many people who came to the aid of the injured, including first responders and area medical providers.
The memorial started by recognizing longtime OSU employees Marvin and Bonnie Stone, two-year-old Nash Lucas and University of Central Oklahoma student Nikita Nakal, who all died in the tragedy.
“From this tragedy, our response must be to honor their lives,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “This tragedy can be a catalyst to embrace each other, love each other and encourage the best in us all.”
The community has rallied around the slogan, Stillwater Strong. Stillwater Mayor Gina Noble discussed what those words mean. “We are a Stillwater and OSU family,” she said. “We are connected by the resilience we have to overcome tragedy. We have done it before and we will do it again.”
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb spoke on behalf of the state, discussing the Oklahoma Standard.
“We have been a people who have defined, personified and provided a paradigm for the Oklahoma Standard,” Lamb said. “As a people we have overcome trial, tribulation, tough times and tragedy. A week and a half ago, our state’s tears were orange. Once again the OSU family was met by tragedy and once again our family responded.”
In conjunction with the service, OSU released statements of support and appreciation. The family of Bonnie and Marvin Stone issued a statement expressing its thanks to the OSU and Stillwater communities and appreciation for the difficult work of emergency responders. Go here for the full statement.
OSU alumnus Boone Pickens and his wife Toni Pickens also issued a statement. “We should take comfort in our ability to rally together in support of each other. It is embedded in our OSU genes. Yet we should never forget the souls lost, and pay tribute to them for decades to come.” Go here to read the full statement.
Pastor Matt Mills, president of the Interfaith Council at OSU, opened the ceremony by recognizing those who died with a moment of silence and lead the audience in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. The service included performances by the OSU Bagpipe Band, the Stillwater youth Honors Choir, and a joint Stillwater High School and OSU orchestra.
Following the memorial, OSU student Corey Kent White led a brief benefit concert that included local musicians James Price and Roy Cruz, who wrote tributes following the tragedy.
The concert raised money for the Stillwater Strong Fund established by the Stillwater Medical Center Foundation. Donations can still be made to the Stillwater Strong Fund by texting STRONG to 50555 and $10 will go to the Stillwater Medical Center Foundation.* When prompted, reply to confirm the donation.
VIDEO: Video from the event will be on OSU’s FTP site by 9:30 p.m. Attached are instructions.