When Scott Cummings met the parents of slain teen Kelli O’Laughlin, he knew he wanted to find a way to honor her.
The 14-year-old O’Laughlin interrupted a burglar at her Indian Head Park, Ill., home in October, 2011, and was stabbed to death by the man, who still awaits trial.
Cummings met John and Brenda O’Laughlin in 2011 during the Lyons Township Run for Kelli 5K they had planned in their daughter’s honor.
“John and Brenda have many different fundraisers — the 5K race, Koncert for Kelli, car washes, golf outings, flowers, etc,” Cummings said.
“The fundraising has gone for scholarships, education, kids to summer camps, toys to the needy at Christmas, and funding for a police dog.”
“In talking to Kelli’s parents and reading about her, it was time to step up for Kelli who ran cross country and now can’t. I wanted to keep her memory alive and to honor her family,” he added.
A year ago, Cummings started running himself and has since participated in 12 5K races throughout Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. He runs wearing a shirt bearing O’Laughlin’s name.
“Through life we honor people and causes. In my case, I run for a 14-year-old girl I never met for the good she represented and for her parents, to honor and respect them,” he said.
“Kelli was a loving girl who was kind to strangers and friends alike. She helped so many in life and is helping still through her memorial fund,” he added.
A 1975 Andrean High School graduate, Cummings has been employed for 36 years with the city of Hobart as a street department foreman.
He enjoys reading and watching old movies, and resides in Hobart with wife Cindy.