Seven Days final day honors victims of JCC shootings on one year anniversary

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STILWELL, Kan. -- Monday morning at St. Peter's Parish, there was a memorial mass and balloon release. That event, plus another at Blue Valley High School honored Reat Underwood, a 14-year-old boy fatally shot outside the Jewish Community Center on April 13, 2014.

"There`s a lot of good that`s come out of it in a year," said Blue Valley student Cade Blackburn, who was one of many students who gathered to remember and honor Underwood, "The atmosphere was very quiet, and kind of solemn."

A bench now sits at the front entrance to the school, dedicated to Underwood.

"It's a way that we can permanently remember the legacy of Reat,"said Blue Valley Principal Scott Bacon.

Bacon sat down with Underwood's family to discuss what would be most fitting as a memorial.

"Love wins," Bacon said, "and I think that's what Mindy Corporon, Reat's mom, would want us to take from this, and would want our students to take from this as well."

With the help of many community members, including the funeral home that provided funeral services for Underwood and his grandfather Dr. William Corporon, they constructed the bench.

"We wanted to make sure that we designed the bench the right way, so that it was here, so that it would last, so that the children of every generation that comes through Blue Valley High School would have the opportunity to be here and utilize this memorial," said Mathew Forastiere, the vice president of operations of the Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Garden.

Earlier at St. Peter's Parish, a mass honored Corporon, Underwood and Terri LaManno. Prosecutors say the same person trying to kill Jewish people, Frazier Glenn Cross, gunned her down at Village Shalom minutes after the Jewish Community Center shootings.


"It`s been a trying week this week, I knew that this day was coming," said Terri's husband, Jim. He said the support from the community has been amazing.

"What I feel right now is real love with all my family here, friends, and all the extra love that I`ve received from this neighborhood," said LaManno.

After the mass, there was a balloon release to represent each victim's age: 69 red balloons for Dr. Corporon, 14 pink balloons for Underwood and 53 purple balloons for LaManno.

"We were able to really make this positive and we feel going forward that our love ones lives will not be lost and that their legacy will go on for a long time," added LaManno.

The memorials brought back memories of all three victims. The goal is to help people remember, heal, and move forward.

"This bench will just be a place for quiet reflection for them to go to and to think about all the good times they had with Reat," Blackburn said.

"If we get one person to change the way that they feel and the way that they feel about other people, different people, I think we've done our job," said LaManno.

The suspected shooter will go to trial in August; attorneys for Cross entered a "not-guilty" plea. Cross is an admitted white supremacist and anti-Semitic.

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