Kansas City, MO
2009 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
|Kansas City||Greg and Missy Smith
Kelsey Smith Foundation
On June 2, 2007, Greg and Missey Smith’s daughter, Kelsey, who just days earlier had graduated from high school, was abducted in broad daylight from a local department store. About three hours after her abduction, her car was found in a mall parking lot. Surveillance video shows Kelsey purchasing a gift, walking out to her car, and then being abducted. Family and friends quickly began to search for Kelsey. The number of volunteers grew so large that they became known as "Kelsey's Army." On June 6, 2007, Kelsey's body was located during a search coordinated by the FBI. It was determined that she was sexually assaulted and strangled to death. The person accused was arrested the same day, and on July 23, 2008, Kelsey's killer pled guilty to all four charges of kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and capital murder.
On July 7, 2007, Greg and Missey Smith founded the Kelsey Smith Foundation to honor their daughter by empowering families, friends, and communities to proactively protect one of its most precious resources—its youth; to develop, implement, and provide targeted prevention education, instruction, and resources focused on safeguarding youth; to recommend and provide advocacy programs and resources should a young adult become missing or be abducted; and to develop and assist in developing programs and projects that have both statewide and national applicability and impact.
Since the establishment of the Kelsey Smith Foundation, Greg and Missey Smith have taught approximately 78 Safety Awareness Seminars. These seminars provide pragmatic advice for personal training and protection. In March of 2009, the Foundation produced its first public service announcement to bring to light the terrible problem of violent death for young adults.
The Smiths have also developed the Safety Whistle Program, which arranges for the purchase and distribution of over 7,000 whistles to all high school girls who attend the Kelsey Smith Foundation Safety Awareness Seminar.
The Smiths are presently developing more programs to assist in educating our youth, including a program to teach community organizations what to do when a person is missing, as well as training on developing liaison with media and law enforcement.