Jon and Mindy Gray stand with members of the Highland Park City Council and the city’s place of remembrance working group. | Provided Photo

A Highland Park native, along with his wife, have donated $1 million to help construct a permanent memorial for the seven victims killed in the Highland Park mass shooting.

The City of Highland Park earlier this week announced the gift from Jon and Mindy Gray to support the construction of a permanent place of remembrance that will pay tribute to the seven victims of the July 4, 2022, shooting.

Jon Gray, a Highland Park native, is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone.

The donation from the Grays is the first private contribution to the “trauma-informed undertaking” to provide a space for reflection and remembrance of those who were impacted by the shooting and honor the community’s resiliency, city officials said.

The donation is in addition to initial support provided by the Grays to the Highland Park Community Foundation for immediate relief efforts in July 2022.

[Suggested Article]  Waukegan city clerk pleads not guilty, released pending trial after being charged with 15 felonies

“On July 4, 2022, seven lives were taken too soon by a senseless act by one person, with one combat weapon, in under one minute,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said.

“Dozens were injured, with many still working to physically recover from devastating and complex wounds, eighteen months later. Nearly 5,000 people participating in the parade or sitting along the parade route continue to grapple with the emotional and mental toll of gun violence,” Rotering said.

“Today, we are lifted by the kindness of former Highland Park resident Jon Gray and his wife Mindy. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this generous gift that will help us create a permanent place of remembrance, a critical part of our community’s long-term resiliency,” she added.

Jon and Mindy Gray joined Rotering and City Manager Ghida Neukirch in visiting the temporary memorial, which is located in the Rose Garden adjacent to city hall, to remember those whose lives were taken in the shooting.

[Suggested Article]  Teenager accidentally shoots himself, lies to police that gunman opened fire near Mundelein

“I grew up not far from where the devastating tragedy occurred and have cherished memories of decorating my bike to participate in the July 4th parade. We continue to mourn with the community and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Beyond providing immediate support to those impacted, my wife Mindy and I wanted to join in the City’s important effort to create a lasting place of remembrance and reflection for Highland Park,” Jon Gray said.

The city began the planning process for a permanent place of remembrance in the fall of 2023 when the city council established a core working group to conduct research, solicit community feedback and provide advisory recommendations to the council.

The working group is composed of Rotering, Councilmember Anthony Blumberg, Neukirch, Resiliency Manager Madeline Kati, Park District of Highland Park Executive Director Brian Romes and Josselyn Community Engagement Manager Gaby Valverde Strobehn.

[Suggested Article]  Waukegan, Buffalo Grove police canines receive body armor donations from non-profit organization

The temporary memorial at the Rose Garden, which features seven plaques designed in partnership with family members, will remain until the permanent place of remembrance is established.