Nearly two years ago, Reagan Tokes’ life was taken in an act of violence.
Just three months away from graduating with a degree in psychology from Ohio State University and a little more than a month from her 22nd birthday, Tokes was abducted after leaving work in the Short North in Columbus on Feb. 8, 2017.
She was robbed, raped and shot twice in the head, with her body left to be discovered the next morning in Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City. Brian L. Golsby was convicted of the crime.
Now, planning is underway for “Rally for Reagan,” set Feb. 15 and 16, as a way to remember her and raise money for scholarships in her honor.
The event will include a fundraising dinner to benefit the Reagan Delaney Tokes Memorial Foundation, which was established in September 2017 by Tokes’ parents, Toby and Lisa Tokes, who live in Parkland, Florida..
“It’s been really hard to go down this path of trying to create something positive from something so tragic,” Lisa Tokes said. “We didn’t want to allow ourselves to get caught up in the darkness and evil that took Reagan away from us, so we created the foundation as a lasting legacy for Reagan and the light that came from her.”
In a little more than a year, the foundation has awarded $120,000 in scholarships to students.
“We’ve set up two scholarships at Ohio State and another nine back in Maumee, Ohio, the town where Reagan grew up,” Lisa Tokes said.
Seven scholarships are given to students at Anthony Wayne High School, Reagan’s alma mater, and two to her church, Maumee United Methodist Church.
“Completing her education was so important to Reagan and she was so close to achieving her goal when she was taken from us,” Lisa Tokes said.
The family thought establishing a scholarship in her honor to help other deserving students fulfill their dreams was a perfect way to honor her legacy, she said.
“Reagan was working toward earning a degree in psychology, because she wanted to help other people overcome issues they are facing,” Lisa Tokes said. “With the scholarships, she is helping people, just as she wanted.”
The second day of the rally will feature a safety/self-defense conference that will offer women tips on how to protect themselves in case of an attack.
“It’s her parents’ wish that what happened to Reagan will never happen to anyone else,” said Michael Roderick, who is helping plan the event.
Roderick, a Dublin-based financial adviser, is founder of Embrace the First Step, an organization that coordinates fundraising activities to benefit charitable organizations.
Both the dinner and the conference will be held at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, 50 N. Third St., Columbus.
Tickets for the dinner or conference may be purchased on the foundation website, rdtmf.com, by clicking the event link below the Columbus dates. More information also is available by emailing email@example.com.
“Friday night will be a fundraising dinner with a silent auction that will include a lot of OSU sports memorabilia; some autographed footballs, including some signed by Archie Griffin; Lebron James autographed items; and some Tiger Woods items,” Roderick said.
“But there will also be items for nonsports fans, including lithographs and paintings from well-known local artists, spa packages, dinner certificates – just a whole host of items. We’re expecting to have at least 10 tables full of auction items on display.”
The dinner and auction will be held from 6 to 11 p.m.
The keynote speaker will be Tim Kight, founder of the Focus 3 leadership-building organization, and attendees will have the opportunity to have a red-carpet photo taken, Roderick said.
The cost of $125 per person includes dinner and an open bar.
The safety/self-defense conference will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 16. It will offer basic training in the “Self Defense in Seven Minutes” workout that self-defense expert Rob Fletcher created.
“The best self-defense is situational awareness,” Fletcher said. “To be aware of your surroundings and to know how to act proactively and preventively so that you’re less likely to be a victim.”
The first portion of the Feb. 16 session will feature educational presentations.
“We’ll be presenting information and statistics and offering advice regarding safety-and-prevention awareness," Fletcher said.
The session will include a presentation by an officer from the Grove City Division of Police.
The “Self Defense in Seven Minutes” technique involves building physical fitness as well as the techniques and tactics that work best to fight back against an attacker, Fletcher said.
“Fighting back – it’s so important to learn how to do that so that you can survive in case the situation becomes more serious than just someone wanting to steal your purse,” he said. “If that’s all it is – sure, give them your purse. That can be replaced. You can’t. So if their intention is to commit rape or something even more serious, you need to be able to fight back.”
Therefore the second portion will allow participants to try out the “Self Defense in Seven Minutes” workout, which incorporates fighting skills, self-defense, boxing, kickboxing, strength and conditioning, Fletcher said.
“At the conference, we’ll be going through a seven-minute interval, doing various activities for one minute each,” he said. “During one of our full-fledged workshops or when you’re at home, you do a series of seven-minute intervals with one- or two-minute rest breaks between.”
The Reagan Delaney Tokes Memorial Foundation aligned itself with Fletcher’s program as part of its belief that “action conquers tragedy,” Roderick said.
“What I find so inspiring about Reagan’s family is that they chose to respond to a tragedy that resulted from evil and darkness and turn it into something that offers hope and inspiration and honors Reagan’s legacy,” he said.
Tickets for the self-defense conference are $25 per person.
Though the foundation honors Reagan Tokes’ memory by providing scholarships, her family has taken more direct action to help reduce the number of victims of violent crime
The Tokes family worked with state legislators to create the Reagan Tokes Act, Senate Bill 201, a portion of which has been approved by the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives and has advanced to Gov. John Kasich’s desk.
“It’s difficult to put into emotions (and words) what we’re feeling (as the bill moves toward adoption) because it’s only a part of the bill that can be approved this year,” Lisa Tokes said.
The original legislation included several components, including requiring GPS ankle bracelets be placed on parolees to include real-time monitoring, easing workloads for parole officers and toughening sentencing standards to allow indefinite sentences for the most serious felony offenders.
Only the last component was included in the final version of the bill.
The legislation was broken into pieces, in part because the GPS and parole officer-workload components would involve further state expenditures, Lisa Tokes said.
“With a new governor and budget coming up next year, they’ve been delayed,” she said. “We’re hopeful they will be brought back and addressed next year.
“If these measures had been in place, our daughter would still be alive. We want them to be in place so no other family has to suffer the kind of loss we have.”