On Oct. 24, 2015, four attendees at the OSU Sea of Orange parade were killed and 50 were injured when a vehicle drove into the crowd gathered along the route. In the aftermath, the Stillwater community and Oklahoma State University united to rebuild and restore in the wake of the tragedy. The mantra Stillwater Strong was born.
To honor the four lives lost and the countless lives forever changed, the Stillwater Strong Memorial will be dedicated at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, at the corner of Hall of Fame and Hoke Street, one block west of Main Street.
“The memorial provides a lasting tribute to the victims of the parade tragedy, an event that brought the Stillwater community together like never before,” said Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis. “The community owes a huge thanks to the Stillwater Strong Memorial Committee, Stillwater Medical Foundation and the many donors who made this memorial possible.”
The memorial features a six-foot tall, handcrafted alloy ribbon in orange and blue on a concrete base with four granite tiles describing the lives of the four victims lost. A fifth granite tile on a separate pedestal describes the memorial and the purpose behind the Stillwater Strong effort. The site will be bordered by a concrete sign installed near the sidewalk bearing the words “Stillwater Strong.” OSU graduate Gary Sparks, a Tulsa-based architect, was the lead designer for the memorial.
“The ceremony will feature a tribute to the memory of Bonnie and Marvin Stone, Nikita Nakal and Nash Lucas with the unveiling of the granite tiles and handmade metal ribbon sculpture fabricated in their honor,” said Scott Petty, executive director for the Stillwater Medical Foundation and memorial committee member. “We also invited individuals and families who were affected by this tragedy to join us for the dedication.”
After the dedication, the memorial will be illuminated at night and open to visitors at any time.
The memorial was funded through a grassroots drive for donations led by the Stillwater Strong Memorial Committee, spurred along by members of the Leadership Stillwater Class XXVI. Over the past three years, contributions, especially from fans and visitors alike who donated during OSU home football games, helped make the memorial a reality.
“So many people still struggle with the memories of what they witnessed on that corner,” said Kelly Murphy, a member of the Stillwater Strong Memorial committee. “I think the memorial will really transform the space and give victims, as well as the community, a beautiful place in which to remember what occurred there on Oct. 24, 2015.”
“It is also extremely important that the story be told in the years to come. I truly believe this gorgeous area will capture the attention of many who pass through that busy intersection of Stillwater and will accomplish just that. And, for that, I am eternally grateful,” Murphy added.
The ceremony will feature remarks from Mayor Will Joyce, OSU President Burns Hargis, Kyle Eastham from Leadership Stillwater Class XXVI and Debbie Thomas from the Stillwater Community Foundation.
“We also want to recognize and thank our first responders and those in the community who helped in response to this tragedy,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “Their contributions helped save lives and their efforts continue to protect us to this day.
More information about the Stillwater Strong Memorial is here.
More information about OSU Homecoming events here.
More information about the City of Stillwater’s safety preparations, event maps, road closings and game day parking options for OSU Homecoming is here.