An assumption about her faith placed Terri LaManno in the gunsights of a madman.
Her actual beliefs — a devotion to Catholicism and service to others — are her legacy. Her husband is ensuring it.
Day by day, this has been Jim LaManno’s quiet focus since his wife was among three people shot and killed in April 2014 outside the Jewish Community Center and the Village Shalom retirement community in Overland Park.
This week is just more challenging than others. The accused murderer, an anti-Semite, is representing himself in a Johnson County courtroom, attempting to orchestrate a media circus.
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So something as simple as turning on the television to check the Royals’ score can force Jim LaManno to confront coverage of the trial. Walking into a store risks catching a glimpse of a newspaper, his wife’s accused killer pictured on the front page.
Family members of the three victims have been asked by prosecutors not to speak publicly about the trial, which is expected to continue for at least another week. But they are continuing to forge positive outcomes from the terror the shootings has caused their families.
For Jim LaManno, that will mean his visit Wednesday morning to the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, where his wife was an occupational therapist. For a second year, he will make a personal donation of $9,000 to offset the costs of care for two children.
It’s his annual gift and a way to ensure that a scholarship fund at the center in Terri LaManno’s name will become self-sustaining and therefore be able to carry on even after his death.
In addition, LaManno will make a $22,000 donation from the Faith Always Wins Foundation, which was organized by the family of the two other victims: Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, and his grandfather William L. Corporon, 69.
His wife’s fellow graduates of St. Teresa’s Academy have funded a scholarship for an incoming freshman. And his wife’s brother has created a scholarship at Rockhurst University for a student of occupational therapy.
In these ways, the selfless work and strong faith that fueled Terri LaManno during her life will continue through the eventual accomplishments of other people.
Hate, as a spectacle, is on trial this week in a local courtroom. But one thing is already resolved. The determined actions and decisions of the grieving families have guaranteed that good will outlast such evil.