Friends strive to commemorate and celebrate Reat Underwood’s memory

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A Facebook page set up to honor 14-year-old Reat Underwood’s memory has been shared thousands of times and now a “10 Day Challenge for Reat” is making its round on social media.

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The Facebook page was set up by classmate and Blue Valley High School debate teammate Emily Milakovich.

“I think it just really speaks to how many people’s lives he touched,” she said of the thousands of kids now posting memories, messages and sharing pictures on the site.

“It’s easy to see from people’s postings about him that he was an incredible force,” Milakovich said.

Underwood was only a freshman at BVHS, but his debate teammates say Reat didn’t let age stand in the way of success.

“He was so outgoing, so full of life. Sometimes he used to joke that he came on too strong. But he was just a strong personality and he really did light up a room,” Milakovich said.

And now it’s Facebook and Twitter lighting up for Reat.

“The message with that is just to celebrate Reat’s life. His Twitter bio is pretty much his life motto, which is live life to the fullest and never give up,” Milakovich said.

It was another of Underwood’s debate teammates, Sam Reber, that took the “Wear White for Reat” message one step further.

“I don’t want Reat’s death to be looked over in another week. Like I want someone to be, I want to look back on it and see how I’ve changed because of it, but I also want the community to do the same,” said Reber. “So I thought of the way Reat acted. His mindset, his attitude and then I kind of turned it into the 10 day list.”

A “10 day challenge for Reat” with the Twitter #reatschallenge took to digital life.

On the list, things like: “tell your family members you love them,” “tell someone you appreciate them,” and “give out three compliments to people you don’t know.”

Ten days of living better, loving harder and becoming a better person for Reat. It’s a message the 14-year old’s mother shared in her comments Monday and a message Underwood’s classmates are taking to heart.

“Because even though we lost something incredible, the community will go on, the Jewish community will go on and the evil that he brought can’t outmatch the love we have for Reat, his grandfather and the community in general,” Milakovich said.

The 10 day challenge starts Tuesday. Friends hope the message will be shared on social media sites to honor both their friend and the community.

Click here for a link to the challenge 

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