Brought together by love and commitment to action, the community joined the family of Reagan Tokes to remember her while working to make sure no one else would go through the same horrific incident.
To honor Reagan’s memory, the Rally for Reagan event was held Thursday night at Freyer Park in Grove City The event also raised money and awareness for scholarships in her name and efforts to fix the problems that led to her untimely death.
The motto of the event: “actions conquer tragedy.”
“Grief is an awful state of being, it can destroy you if you let it,” Lisa McCrary-Tokes, Reagan’s mother, said. “It is evil at work eroding your soul if you let it. I refuse to let that happen.”
It is the determination to make something good come of such a horrible situation that has led the Tokes family to work tirelessly to right the wrongs that led to Reagan’s death. Lisa said it comes from a place of love and from the wish to honor who Reagan was.
“It has become our mission to honor her beautiful spirit, her passion for life, her passion for others.”
The event—which was free to attend but encouraged a donation to the Reagan Delaney Tokes Memorial Foundation—had two major themes of action: correcting flaws in the legal system and self defense.
Helping the Tokes family host the event was Rob Fletcher, a personal trainer who designed a self-defense workout known as sdi7, or self defense in 7 minutes. Fletcher is working with Lisa, who is also a trainer, to make the course as accessible as possible to everyone, hoping to bring it to gyms, high schools, universities and anywhere else it may be needed.
“Attending this event and applying the information given to you will take you and your loved ones out of the category of the perfect target,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher’s workout focuses on working self-defense techniques in to regular workouts that promote physical well-being. The idea behind the program is to constantly be practicing the techniques, as opposed to taking a one-off self-defense class. This way the moves that could save someone’s life will be committed to muscle memory.
Attendees were also led in the workouts and demonstration of self-defense techniques by Fletcher and Grove City Police Department Sergeant Jason Stern.
Along with the promotion of sdi7, the rally had another focus: changing laws. Three of the public officials pushing the Reagan Tokes Act in the Ohio legislature were in attendance, a team Lisa described as “saying no more along with us.”
Rep. Kristin Boggs, Rep. Jim Hughes and Sen. Kevin Bacon spoke at the event Thursday night.
“If you go back and recount step by step what happened that evening there were multiple failures in the system,” Bacon said while praising the efforts of the Tokes family. “They didn’t have to do this and now it is all about helping someone else.”
Boggs, who is helping lead the efforts in the House, also shared her admiration for what the Tokes family has accomplished as well as the community at large.
“Reagan was my constituent, her abduction occurred less than two blocks from my home,” Boggs recounted. “I have never seen an incident pull a community together the way this horrific incident has.”
Hughes echoed the sentiments of his legislative counterparts while also encouraging those in attendance to contact their representatives and senators to push them to support their efforts.
“If [the Reagan Tokes Act] doesn’t pass by December 31st of this year, we have to start over,” Hughes said. “As public officials, it is our duty to protect the public. The State of Ohio did not protect Reagan Tokes.”
Ultimately, the event was full of emotion from sorrow to hope and was filled throughout with laughter and passion. It was evident that it all came back to the same place Lisa had mentioned in her opening remarks.
It was all about love.
“It’s hard to hold onto the light,” Lisa said. “The ultimate common denominator is love. It comes from a place of love.