Cedar Falls announces ‘Celebration of Life’ event to honor Maquoketa park victims

Mayor Green says the event is planned to take place at Overman Park on the evening of August 2nd.
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 8:48 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - In a message on his Facebook page, Cedar Falls Mayor Rob Green announced a ‘Celebration of Life’ event for the victims of the Maquoketa Caves State Park shooting - Tyler, Sarah, and Lula Schmidt. Their son Arlo survived.

Mayor Green says the event is planned to take place at Overman Park on the evening of August 2nd.

You can read his full message below:

Neighbors, as we approach the sun’s setting on another day -- our third full day of grappling with this tragedy -- here’s some new stuff I know:We’re going to share our memories and love for Tyler, Sarah, and Lula at a “Celebration of Life’ at Overman Park on the evening of August 2nd. Many more details to follow, including exact time.

This is on National Night Out, and I hope that neighbors will still get together as planned and then join us at Overman Park. Or bring your whole neighborhood to Overman Park and sit together for fellowship. While not a festive event, this truly is a celebration of these remarkable people. I am keeping the extended family closely in the loop on this and they are supportive of the event. I think Tyler and Sarah would love to see us all together as neighbors. The media will be very welcome to attend and record this event, where many, many stories will be shared. We’ll also livestream for all of Sarah’s and Tyler’s family to watch, wherever they are, so that they can see how much the Schmidt family was loved by all.

Anticipate a private funeral and memorial service for Tyler, Sarah, and Lula, at the family’s request. To respect their privacy, I won’t be sharing any details about that, but rest assured that the city take the best care of them that we possibly can. Some rockstar colleagues have put together a resource guide for helping us work through our grief. It’s at bit.ly/cvgrief and is a living document that will be updated as more resources become available. Please take advantage of it, including the list of some beautiful quiet places you might want to go to, to help get through the grieving process.

I’ve been closely connected with the family these past few days, and it has been so gratifying to see the community step up to meet the financial and logistical needs of these truly wonderful people. I couldn’t be prouder of how we’ve rallied around these family members from all over the country. All of the family has been full of hugs and gratitude -- I won’t say here just how many individuals, groups and businesses have donated their services for the family’s ease and comfort, but it’s been a ton, and it’s awe-inspiring. THANK YOU.

I do want to give a note to the media; most of those we’ve engaged with have shown great tact in covering this horrible tragedy. Two significant outliers today were a reporter who badgered a family member in the library parking lot, and another who had been cold-calling people who’d donated to the Meal Train. Seriously? That’s incredibly ghoulish…and fortunately, these actions don’t represent the reporting community I’ve come to know over the past five years. I’ll just close to say THANK YOU to the journalists who have covered this tragedy in our small college town with true professionalism, empathy, and above all, accuracy. You have my gratitude. As President Kirkman said in Designated Survivor, “A democracy is only as strong as its journalism.”

In closing, tomorrow I expect to be back into the normal workday of a mayor, but all the family members have my cell phone number in case they need anything at all. I’ll continue reaching out for unusual needs like banker’s boxes, drivers, and the like, and also working on this Celebration of Life (and I hope you’ll come). As traumatic as this has all been, I’m buoyed by the love and generosity that’s been poured out by Cedar Falls and the whole nation. I hope you are, too. We’ll get through this together.

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