In Memory of Kaelin D. O'Neal
Tragedy intervened on December 14, 2016 and Kaelin died at the age of 18 in a small pond on our campus. From the time he went missing until today and into the future, his friends and loved ones grieve the bright flash of his smile and the warmth and sincerity of his heart.
The purpose of this fundraiser is to honor the memory of Kaelin Demonte' O'Neal by purchasing a weather-resistant teak bench for sitting and contemplation, a custom-made teak kneeler for prayers, and a memorial stone with his name. The bench, kneeler, and stone will be placed by the pond for students to have a comfortable and safe place to pray and to bring their mementos. Currently, students bring candles, flowers, balloons, and letters to the pond, and they stand or kneel to pray in the grass and gravel.
Let's make this memorial a real tribute to Kaelin O'Neal and let's give his Lakeland University family a place to grieve. Any additional funds earned from this fundraiser will be used to to plant a shade tree near the new memorial area and for textbooks or scholarships for student-athletes with financial need.
This fundraiser is administered by Dr. Elizabeth Stroot, Professor of Psychology , in conjunction with students Megan Hellmer and Jack Merrill.
We have some good news to share! We received an email from an anonymous donor. S/he requested that we keep the fundraiser open for a bit longer than we'd planned in the hopes that we could raise an additional $330. That would bring the total to $1500. The anonymous donor promised that s/he would make the final contribution of $500 so we'd reach our goal!!
I know many of you have already made a contribution. If you could share this update with your friends and family members, maybe we could reach that $330. Just $10 from 33 people would get us there.
Thank you again for your support in helping us make this memorial space for Kaelin D. O'Neal.
One of our students and Kaelin's friend wrote this comment with her contribution: ".. .to say you (Kaelin) changed my life is an understatement. Money won't bring you back, but it will help us all have a place to say the words we didn't have a chance to say...".
We have raised nearly $1100 to date. The fundraiser will end on Monday night, May 8. The funds will be used in the following manner. 1) purchase a 5' cypress swing in an inverted-V frame, 2) purchase teak wood for building our own kneeler (thanks, Jack Merrill), and (hopefully) 3) purchase a flat 3' x 3' natural stone or polished concrete marker for the mementos.
If you've already contributed, please know that you have our deepest gratitude. If you haven't yet contributed, even a $5 gift will be much appreciated.
Elizabeth Stroot, Megan Hellmer, and Jack Merrill