Mom starts foundation in memory of Kammy
PLEASANT—“I’m not going to let this go away.”
Those were the words spoken by Tammy Coates just days after the death of her daughter, Kammy Edmunds, the apparent victim of domestic violence.
“I’m not letting this happen to someone else if I can stop it.”
She’s making good on her words.
Emblazoned in domestic-violence-awareness purple, a parade float drove the course of Fourth of July parades in Mt. Pleasant and Moroni, a large sign on its tailgate encouraging bystanders to “Riot Against Domestic Violence,” and bearing the name of “Kammy Mae’s Foundation,” an effort led by Coates and family friend Tameron Powell to establish a non-profit organization for domestic-abuse awareness.
“I’ve been firm on the whole thing—that I will not let her have died in vain,” Coates said Tuesday. “I’m not going to be sitting by while others are getting shot, or hurt, or killed. I want change.
Not long before the cities’ July 4th celebration, Coates says, “I thought, ‘I need to do a float. I need to get it out there.’ I had three days.”
She and others who are also passionate about the issue, and passionate about Kammy Mae, got it done.
“We had really good response from the parades. I had so many people say they were so proud to see that,” she says.
She’s got the float slated to ride in the Spring City and Fairview parades on the 24th of July, and she’ll have it in Nephi on Saturday for a parade there.
I called the Ute Stampede a couple days ago to enter, and she said, ‘This is a really good idea. This is something that has to be done, something that needs to be in the news, in people’s faces.”
And by “people,” Coates means more than just those who are abused and need help, or those who suspect someone they love is being hurt. “Even the abusers need to be aware that we’re out there, and we’re watching them, and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
It wasn’t long after Edmunds’ tragic death that Coates and Powell began putting things in motion for something that could make a different, something that could prevent the kind of pain they believe Kammy Mae must have gone through before her death.
“It’s gut-wrenching every time you see it,” Coates said.
The Kammy Mae Foundation is well underway, Powell said on Tuesday.
“Tammy has someone doing the paperwork as we speak,” Powell said. A bank account to receive funds and donations is set up, a grant writer is in the wings, and the foundation’s seven-member board of trustees has been selected.
Powell estimates it should all be official and formalized by the end of August.
“The vision of the Kammy Mae Foundation is to provide education, resources, emergency services, career services, shelter, clothing, food, necessities, daycare and additional resources to those in need,” Powell wrote in advance of a kick-off event in June. “We want to be a large visible presence in the community so that the general public is aware that there are options and services out there.”
They plan to soon have an office that can be a centralized location for providing information about services and providing referrals for services.
At first, their goal was to build a shelter for battered and abused women and children. But then realism set it.
“I realized after talking to some people that I was shooting for the moon, but that I needed to shoot closer to home,” Coates says. “So were going to start out with getting money to create awareness.”
The goal of a shelter is neither gone nor forgotten, however, just placed at a more financially realistic distance.
“It really is our first priority, depending on how grants come in,” Powell says. “That is something we would do tomorrow if we could, absolutely 100 percent something we would do tomorrow if we could. Absolutely, 100-percent.”
Until then, she says, “We plan on building large and long-term, lasting relationships with other local agencies, community governments, community emergency services, local and outline clinics and therapy centers, and more.”
They have a fundraising event planned for Aug. 12 on the campus of Wasatch Academy, near the school’s student center in the area known as “the Quad.”
“It will be called the “Kammy Mae’s Foundation End-of Summer Live-Band Festival,” or something like that,” Powell says. She plans on having bands playing nearly nonstop from 1-9 p.m. that day, with a myriad of other activities going on all day long: local vendors, food, children’s activities, family-based activities, face-painting, henna tattoos, a bounce house, retail booths, and raffles for prizes from local businesses.
It sounds fun, as it should. But both Coates and Powell are quick to relate it back to its serious purpose.
“Behind that is the domestic violence,” says Coates. “It’s like a dirty little secret and I’m sick of it. In my opinion, it should be splashed all over the newspapers, all over gas station bathroom walls. Everywhere there should be flyers letting people know that love shouldn’t hurt—love doesn’t hurt. I don’t care who you are, you do not deserve to be abused. I will go down screaming from my lungs that it’s not okay to hurt someone.”
They have turned their pain into passion, fueled by purpose. Powell says, “If we could save even one person, one life, one child from a life of misery, one woman or one man from a life of pain, every step along this journey will be worth it.”
People can request more information by emailing Kammymaefoundation@gmail.com. A Facebook page is coming soon.