Friday, September 8, 2017

Chalk Family to Receive Lasting Ribbon Memories From Community

They say that comedy equals tragedy plus time; but no matter how much time passes, there is no comedy to be found in the untimely death of Michelle Chalk.

Yet time passes nonetheless and with the passage of time comes wear and tear to the ribbon-memorials set up throughout town.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Wraps Itself in Ribbons for Michelle Chalk 

Disheartened at the thought of these pop-up memorials throughout town fading and wearing while the town and the Chalk family are still grieving, retired Highlands High School English and Drama teacher Teri Foltz came up with an idea.

Her idea, which she and many others shared, was simple but effective and meaningful: create lasting art with the ribbons to be given to the Chalk family to preserve the memory.  So, the idea went to Facebook where it received significant support from fellow community members and, more importantly, the Chalk family who took the idea and refined it.

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While plans for the germ of an idea are still being finalized, the essence is that families take a piece of their ribbon and write their family name on it.  This piece is then to be delivered to a central location where volunteers will take a large key ring and drape the ribbons from it, creating a keyring wreath.

In order to make this happen, the volunteers need donations of keyrings or embroidery hoops, wreath forms, and for families to cut swatches of approximately eighteen inches in length, write their family name on it, and deliver the swatches to one of the collection sites.

Currently, there are three volunteers to collect the ribbons: Lori Greis in Tower Park, Stacey Rust (163 Burnet Ridge), and Susan Anderson at Highlands Middle School.  Foltz and others would love to have St. Thomas and all of the Elementary schools added as collection sites so kids can bring their swatches into school with them, but volunteers are needed from those schools to collect them.

Foltz has set a goal deadline of September 30 to finish collecting swatches so the wreaths can be made during October.  Says Foltz, “After the ribbons are all collected, I would love to see people getting together in churches and homes and working on these together.”  Per Foltz, many have already expressed interest in helping and that they know how to make these wreaths.

While the Chalk family already has a large wreath made for them from the ribbons, they are “very grateful” to have some of the ribbons to keep and think that the keyring idea is a special way to preserve the ribbons.
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No one can understand the grief and despair (of losing a child),” says Foltz. “It is beyond our imagination to know how this family suffers. Perhaps it helps them to know that others are praying and thinking of them and especially to know how loved Michelle is.

To volunteer in any way including at a collection site, wreath making, or in any other capacity, please reach out to Teri Foltz at or by messaging her on Facebook.  With a succinct but accurate quote, Foltz sums it best saying, “This town cares.”

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