My name is Courtney Roberts, and I am fundraising for the Gabriels. Monica Gabriel was my principal in the 2021/2022 school year and when she moved on to find her current job as Sequoyah Elementary's principal, I was crushed. Little did I know this would lead us to build an even stronger friendship as she transitioned from my boss to my friend. Lucky for me, Monica is a package deal and comes with Kevin Gabriel who I am lucky enough to also call my friend. They are proud parents of their two beautiful children and their sweet dog Oliver whom they love with their entire hearts.
In July of 2022, Kevin was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, which he would call his stage 45786743 cancer. Despite weekly chemo and battling his cancer, Kevin showed up to his job at Steenland Elementary each day. Kevin handled this like a champ and, many times, I forgot he even had cancer. In August of 2023, Kevin’s cancer began making day-to-day life more difficult. He was in and out of the hospital, which put his family on a rollercoaster of emotions. Despite being in and out of the hospital, his doctors insisted he would pull through this rough patch. This week Kevin has faced continued complications that have led to hospice. On 11/5/2023, in the comfort of his own home, and surrounded by family, Kevin passed away peacefully.
The Gabriels are truly the most amazing family I have ever met. There is nothing during this time we can do to truly make this situation easier, but we can lift the burden of finances. As Monica navigates this situation with her children, it is important to me this one area of stress can be minimized for the time being. In this last week, Kevin has expressed concern about the financial burden he is now leaving his family to deal with. Monica is the strongest woman I know, but, I want to make sure we help ease Kevin's anxiety about finances and help Monica channel her strength into getting her family through this unimaginable time.
The three paragraphs above give you the information you need but if you want to keep reading about my love for this family, please do. I have never been called someone who has few words to share =)
Kevin is a long-time employee of Roseville Community Schools where he has impacted the lives of countless students and staff. Kevin loves the students he works with and is filled with endless empathy and patience for them. He remembers students from years before and is one of our awesome staff members who has been around long enough to know entire families of children. He is always there to give advice on helping an older student whom he worked with in elementary.
My favorite part about Kevin is how he lets you into his life immediately. The moment I was introduced to him, I was gifted with his entire personality. He was not shy or reserved but made me feel like he had been my friend for years. He spent the last year and a half filling my days in a group chat with endless conversation about sports, Nike shoes, food, hilarious and off-the-wall comments, and TikTok videos. He absolutely never ran out of things to say and sometimes it was just him and I talking at 6 am on a Saturday as everyone else in the group chat was asleep. He also NEVER forgot anything particularly funny or embarrassing that you said, even if it was a year ago. He would bring it up repeatedly so the laugh could continue. If there was a picture, he had that saved to share.
When I was ready to buy my first pair of Nike’s, I went straight to Kevin. I knew Kevin would help me find the perfect pair for me without any judgment of his own. He spent a morning sending me pictures of Air Force 1’s that were obnoxious and colorful which was exactly what I wanted. He didn’t care if they were not his style, he just cared that I loved them. He told me many times that all that matters is I like them. The point of this is Kevin accepts those in his life for who they are and never tries to change them. He loves each of us in our lives for our unique personality.
I hope this made you smile and remember your memories with him or gave you a way to develop an idea of who he was if you were not lucky enough to meet him. Life without Kevin is going to leave a hole in many hearts, but thankfully his two children and wife can continue spreading the joy and humor that Kevin has taught them when they are ready. Thank you for reading this and please help me, help them.