After their daughter was kidnapped and murdered in June 2007, they vowed to turn the tragedy into something positive.
Greg Smith spoke to seniors at Free State and Lawrence high schools on Thursday about the importance of being vigilant of their surroundings.
Smith’s daughter, Kelsey, was abducted from a parking lot in Overland Park, shortly after her high school graduation.
“When Kelsey was murdered, it was totally devastating,” Smith said. “My wife said … the only thing that the man that murdered our daughter is getting from our family is Kelsey. He’s not getting anything else.”
Greg and Missey Smith have visited several schools with their message. Greg played a video of his daughter for the students, to show she was a normal teenager.
“We always have a project for the year, and we decided to use this as our project,” said Sally Hare-Schriner, president of the Free State High School Site Council. “We wanted to focus on seniors to get them ready to go out into the community.”
Greg Smith later showed the video from the parking lot where Kelsey was abducted, to emphasize how quickly a dangerous situation can escalate.
“I hope that just the sincerity of the message and the simplicity of what it really does take to stay safe sinks in,” Smith said. “(I hope) they can use it so I don’t have to pick up the newspaper and read about another Kelsey Smith case.”
Students were given “Kelsey’s Army” whistles after the assembly to use if they are in danger.