Friends, family of killed skateboarder memorialize him with a billboard

Dec 26 2013 - 2:30pm

Images

Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, gather for a photograph with a billboard installed in his honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, Nick King and Ben Frischetti pose on the billboard installed in Collins' honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The friends were gathered for a group photograph of the billboard of Collins, who died last August while skateboarding.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, from left, Spencer Wells, Zach Friehl, Taylor Boren, Jarod Larson and Nick King climb on the billboard installed in Collins' honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The friends were gathered for a group photograph of the billboard of Collins, who died last August while skateboarding.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, from left, Ben Fischetti, Spencer Wells, Zach Friehl, Taylor Boren and Jarod Larson watch as Nick King, does a back flip off the billboard installed in Collins' honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The friends were gathered for a group photograph of the billboard of Collins, who died last August while skateboarding.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
A large group of friends and family of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, gather for a photograph with a billboard installed in his honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Nan Collins, mother of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, is embraced by Rachel Allred as they gather for a photograph with a billboard installed in his honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The baby is Emery Allred.(BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Marty Collins, father of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, receives a hug from Nick King near the billboard installed in Kit's honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, gather for a photograph with a billboard installed in his honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, Nick King and Ben Frischetti pose on the billboard installed in Collins' honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The friends were gathered for a group photograph of the billboard of Collins, who died last August while skateboarding.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, from left, Spencer Wells, Zach Friehl, Taylor Boren, Jarod Larson and Nick King climb on the billboard installed in Collins' honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The friends were gathered for a group photograph of the billboard of Collins, who died last August while skateboarding.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Friends of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, from left, Ben Fischetti, Spencer Wells, Zach Friehl, Taylor Boren and Jarod Larson watch as Nick King, does a back flip off the billboard installed in Collins' honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The friends were gathered for a group photograph of the billboard of Collins, who died last August while skateboarding.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
A large group of friends and family of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, gather for a photograph with a billboard installed in his honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Nan Collins, mother of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, is embraced by Rachel Allred as they gather for a photograph with a billboard installed in his honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  The baby is Emery Allred.(BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Marty Collins, father of Kristopher "Kit" Collins, who died while skateboarding in August, receives a hug from Nick King near the billboard installed in Kit's honor on Washington Blvd. in Harrisville Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.  (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

HARRISVILLE -- It didn't take long for Marty Collins to realize what kind of impact his son Kit had in his North Ogden community.

His son, who enjoyed long-boarding, was killed in August after being struck by a car. The community rallied around the family, as the Collins family grieved. Marty was impressed with the outpouring of love his family received and with how many lives Kit touched.

Marty recently called long-time friend Dewey Reagan, who is a part owner of Reagan Sign Company in North Salt Lake. He wondered what it would take to put up a billboard in Kit's honor.

"He said it would be nothing and he would do anything for me," Marty said.

The best location for a billboard near Kit's home was located on Washington and about 1095 North, the two decided. And before Marty knew it, the billboard was up with a large picture of Kit, commemorating his life.

Marty said he insisted on paying for part of the sign, but he said it was very minimal.

"Words can't express my appreciation. I didn't expect this at all," Marty said looking at the large billboard.

Marty said the impact has been huge. Countless numbers of friends and family commented to him, both in person and on Kit's Facebook page, about how much the billboard means to them. So Marty decided to organize a picture to commemorate the sign and have it engraved in everyone's mind.

On a recent Saturday morning friends and family braved the deep snow and blizzard conditions for a picture in front of the billboard. For many, seeing the billboard many times a day has been therapeutic.

"I think it's wonderful," Kit's mom, Nan Collins said.

She loved bringing Kit's friends together for the picture and seeing them all again.

She also said seeing the sign brings back bittersweet memories. "It depends on the day," she said of seeing the sign.

Nan said she is glad it is there, though, because she knows it helps many to see his smiling face as they drive by.

"He was such an awesome friend and this is such a tribute for him," Nan said.

Nan said she was also pleased Marty had the idea for the billboard.

Kit's step-mom, Karen, said she thinks it inspires his friends to keep living for Kit and doing the things Kit loves to do.

Nan and her daughter Rachel Allred, hugged and shed a few tears together as the crowd was leaving after the picture was taken. Allred was glad to see so many of Kit's friends too, but admits it has been hard time.

"It's sad to see all these boys," Allred said ss she looked at Kit's best friends standing up on the billboard. "But I am glad to include this in our Christmas."

Trinidee Glover and Kylee Garrett were close friends of Kit.

"It's amazing they can actually put something up about him," Garrett said.

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