Vandals deface ‘Kamryn’s Swing’ sign in Lead park

Vandals used what appears to be a knife to deface a memorial sign in Lead park that family members installed to explain the donation of a swing in Kamryn Schumacher’s honor to the city of Lead, an attempt to give back to the community that supported them through her childhood cancer battle. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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LEAD — A kind gesture from the family of the late Kamryn Louise Schumacher who lost her battle with childhood cancer in May 2017 was treated quite unkindly over the weekend.

Kamryn’s father Dustin Schumacher said a call from Lead City Administrator Mike Stahl Friday morning informed him that someone had taken a knife to the memorial sign that accompanies the family’s donation to the community of an expression swing and vandalized it. 

“Yes, the sign was vandalized,” Stahl said. “Obviously, it’s not something we want to have happen in our park. Unfortunately, one or two people ruin things for everyone else. We’re sorry to have something like that happen, but these kinds of things do sometimes happen, as the park is part of the public environment. We’ll just manage it as we can. We’ll replace the sign and step up patrols. To find who did it will be difficult. Vandalism happens in the spur of moment and is hard to track down. But we’ll do what we can. We’ll replace the sign and make it more robust and vandalism proof … we’ll take steps to do what we can.” 

Schumacher said he and his wife Kristy wished to share Kamryn’s love for swinging with the community as a gesture of thanks and installed an expression swing in Manuel Brothers Park for all to enjoy. An expression swing includes a child’s seat, as well as one other seat for an adult or older child to accompany the younger rider.

“People were so nice to us during Kamryn’s illness and brain tumor,” Schumacher said. “The community rallied around us and did fund raisers and everything else you can imagine. Childhood cancer’s very expensive, and we truly should be bankrupt and homeless right now, but because of the community’s support, we’re not. Kamryn would’ve loved that swing so much because she loved to swing.”

The Schumachers donated the swing in memory of their daughter as a thank you to community, whose members did so much and so many wonderful things to help and support the family through Kamryn’s illness and subsequent passing

“It’s infuriating that the city put so much into this beautiful park and people are vandalizing it, not to mention the sign with my daughter’s picture on it,” Dustin said. “The city is doing great things and wanted to let us know they’re doing everything they can to help. The police department has been really great too. We just think that brand new park shouldn’t be vandalized.”

Schumacher added, it’s very disrespectful to damage anyone else’s property, let alone a dedication to a child.

“Truthfully, my initial reaction was just that I was happy that the city called right away and wanted to let us know so we didn’t just go down and see it,” Dustin Schumacher said. “I’m grateful they were so helpful in that regard. It’s just sad that somebody would deface what is a little memorial, a legacy about my sweet little daughter. Then it turns into anger about the beautiful park we have in Lead that the powers that be put in. Here’s this beautiful park, they spend all kinds of money, and kids, whoever, vandalized it. So, it’s kind of angering in that respect when you put it all together.”

The swing was installed when the new park was put in in August 2017 and Schumacher said the city was so great to him and Kristy when they came to them with the idea.

“They had started tearing up the old park to build the new park and plans were already done,” Schumacher said. “They bent over backward to allow us to do this for the community. We’re grateful to the city and police department for doing what they can to find out who’s doing the vandalism and reaching out to us they’ve been really great to us. I know they’re doing the best they can and doing their due diligence to find who’s vandalizing our beautiful park.”

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