Every Fourth of July holiday, Gene and Peggy Schmidt adorn the trees, flower beds and lawns of their Leawood street with vivid red, white and blue flags and ribbons.
For 20 years they’ve done this annual fusion of patriotic colors that for many marks the celebration of our nation’s independence.
The neighbors love it.
Their daughter Stephanie would too, except that she’s not here to see it.
The Schmidts do this in remembrance of what would have been her 20th birthday if she hadn’t been kidnapped, raped, sodomized and murdered only days before.
The memories are raw, but the celebration of her life still goes on.
Learn how Gene and Peggy Schmidt turned their personal, family tragedy into a foundation that has been changing laws, attitudes and lives in this article, Girl Interrupted originally published in 435 Magazine.