Tate Myre's parents launch 42 Strong Foundation to keep his memory alive

Posted at 11:18 AM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 23:58:53-05

42 Strong. It's the symbolic number that people in Oxford associate with Tate Myre, the 16-year-old football and wrestling star who was killed in the shooting on Nov. 30, 2021.

A year after his death, his family and other families are remembering Tate and the other victims – 17-year-old Justin Shilling, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, and 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana.

Tate's parents, Buck and Sheri, are sharing their painful journey to uncover the truth and keep their son's memory and legacy alive.

Related: 'I miss her dearly.' Madisyn Baldwin's mom reflects on her daughter's impact
Related: Justin Shilling's mom describes him as a giver, says he lifted up others

"We're a year later. How are you doing?" I asked them.

"It's a battle. It's harder on the family than I thought it would ever be."

I'm still sad every day. I still cry every day," they said.

One of the most difficult things this year was the start of the hunting season.

"That was a heavy, heavy week, and then we had Thanksgiving. It was hard," Buck said.

But they hold on to the memories, however small. Buck wears the number 42 around his neck and it's on his dented water mug.

"I like to wear Tate's socks. I like to wear Tate's underwear. I like to use his water bottle, so for me, it helps me big time," Buck said.

Relief also comes from the suspected shooter who pleaded guilty to the murders and injuries. It spares families the trauma of a trial. Buck gives him credit and believes accepting responsibility is what society is missing.

"He took accountability. We talk about that all the time, we've raised our kids on that," Buck said.

The jury is still out on the school's accountability and Ethan's parent's role in what unfolded.

"Do you think kids are safe or do you think are they taking the right steps?" I asked.

"If I'm a parent and have a kid at that school, I'm nervous," they said.

I asked his mom what the school board got wrong.

"Just investigating, being transparent about everything," Sheri said "We trusted the school, Jill (Justin's mom) trusted the school, the St. Juliana's trusted the school and they failed, they failed miserably."

Their attorney, Ven Johnson, said they still don't know what the school did and didn't do.

Tate's parents, in all their grief and struggle to uncover the truth, started the 42 Strong Foundation in their son's honor. It offers peer-to-peer mentorship.

"Tate was a very, very powerful mentor and that's why we started this foundation," they said. "We think it's a game changer in our world."

They also said they have felt a lot of love from the community, but think people still need to be held accountable.

"I just don't want anyone to forget Tate, Justin, Madisyn, Hana. Keep those memories and just be kind."

Sherri and Buck have older children in college who they still worry about.

They say they take it one day at a time and while grief comes in different stages, they will continue their fight to help others through the 42 Strong Foundation and that in turn will help them heal.