Oliva Croney, Wyatt Irwin and Cheri Fye-Croney
© Image Copyright AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Editor/Staff Photographer 9:18 am
Alle-Kiski Valley, Pa. – Faced with tragedy in her own life, and the life of her children, Cheri Fye-Croney presented the “Kevin Croney Perseverance Award” at a Veteran’s Day Assembly on Friday, November 6, 2015 at the Kiski Area Upper Elementary School.
On March 13, 2015, Kevin Croney, age 44, was shot and killed at his place of business in New Kensington after an argument took place inside that business. The alleged gunman remains incarcerated in the Westmoreland County Jail.
The “Kevin Croney Perseverance Award”, is the first of awards presented to Wyatt Irwin; a young man from Kiski Area High School who has also chosen to thrive amidst a life of challenge. The scholarship award goes to individuals who have faced tremendous challenges in their lives and encourages them to persevere through life’s most difficult situations.
For Cheri Fye-Croney, Friday was a bittersweet day as she honored her husband’s wishes to do something at the Veterans Day assembly. Kevin’s father was a military veteran who was shot during active duty, then suffered debilitating injuries from a car accident in Michigan. Kevin wanted to do something to honor the veterans, said Cheri. This award honors Kevin’s wishes.
For the first time since the passing of her husband, a little bit of peace was felt in her heart as she spoke about overcoming obstacles and perseverance, realizing that the words she speaks are the words she lives by not only for herself, but her three amazing children. Croney said a piece of her said goodbye to being a wife and accepted the role as a survivor, a widow, and a cause. “Sometimes we have to let go of what we once dreamed to make room for what will actually be. Grief is not a place to stay, but merely a step in the healing process and yesterday I made a huge step in the direction I want to continue in.”
It only takes a few minutes of talking to Cheri, to feel the strength and determination she possesses to erase the stains of violence. Cheri said she wished that she could have been this determined and motivated to help others less fortunate in life before the tragedy struck. One day we were doing our thing, running a business, kids, living a decent life and then all of a sudden my world was falling apart. Her message today is one of “perseverance” in the face of adversity.
I just want to thank everybody who has made this foundation a reality and every donation given has been greatly appreciated. Recently on Facebook, Cheri’s words rang out in testiment of the following: I walked out of Allegheny General Hospital almost 8 months ago with a promise to myself to not let the violence that took Kevin away from us destroy me or this family. Days like tomorrow (Veteran’s Day Assembly), inspire me to keep moving in the direction I have chosen to walk all these months. To honor a man instead of grieve him … To remember a father instead of mourn him… To show three children what “Perseverance” truly is. For myself along with my three children, my gratitude for all of you that have chosen to join us on this journey can never be put into words. So to all of you …..thank you❤❤ from the bottom of my heart, Cheri-Fye Croney.
Veteran’s Day Assembly held on November 6, 2015 at Kiski Area Upper Elementary