Community Issues

Tragedy Survivors Perform Acts of Kindness to Honor Mass Shooting Victims

Their message is simple: Be the Good

After tragedies like mass shootings happen, it takes months, even years, for communities to recover, sometimes, they never do. Memorials with signs and flowers honoring the victims slowly disappear, and life returns to "normal" for most people. The event becomes a sad memory tucked in the back of their minds.

Cue, The Honor Network.

The Honor Network is a non-profit that came to life after the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas, NV. Members of the organization travel to areas where mass shootings have taken place and do random acts of kindness to honor each of the victims. Most members have experienced tragedy in some way, whether they lost someone they loved in a shooting, or were themselves victims of violent crimes.

Tommy Maher, the founder of the network, is a firefighter in South Hempstead, NY. Ever since he lost a friend in his firehouse in Long Island, NY during the 9/11 attack in New York, he wanted to bring back the feeling of kindness and community that he felt after the tragedy. He drives a white van with the words "Pay It Forward" on it, and he, along with members of his team, goes to towns and spends thousands of dollars on random acts of kindness, each one relating to the lives of the victims in some way.

THN recently went to Dayton, OH where they honored each of the ten victims who lost their lives at a mass shooting in the town's Oregon District in August. They left large tips for waiters at two local restaurants in remembrance of Lois Oglesby and Saeed Salah, both remembered as being hard workers.

"The tip was amazing, but the message was the real treat," Smith, one of the waiters, told the Dayton Daily News. "Be the good in the world. I couldn't agree more. It brought tears to my eyes to know there's a group out there honoring the victims of our local tragedy."

The Honor Network also treated a grandmother (pictured below) who was awaiting the arrival of her adopted grandchild to baby gifts at Target to honor one of the victims who loved children. They also paid for meals, coffee and purchased a new bike for someone who lost hers, all in remembrance of the people who lost their lives.

While Maher only recently made The Honor Network an official non-profit, he says they're growing quickly. Now people are able to donate directly to his cause, instead of him funding the whole project on his own. He's hopeful that people are catching on and will be inspired to continue spreading kindness after they're gone.

"What I do notice here (in Dayton) is the youth, Mary Jo Von Tillow," one of the group's members, said. "It really impacted young people here. They want to pay it forward. That really resonates with me, and they could really make a big change and a big difference if they continue their acts of kindness."

Why not take the lead from The Honor Network and perform an act of kindness in your own community?

When you do, sign up at Sparkt, post your story, and we'll share it with the world. Let's work together to #StartSomethingGood!

You can support the work of The Honor Network by donating via PayPal .

(Source: The Honor Network Facebook )

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