Kyle Keiffer’s memory is staying alive and well in southeastern Ohio, one pair of shoes at a time.

Laura Davis’ son, Kyle

Kyle died of heart disease in 2016 during surgery. He was 26 years old. Because Kyle loved shoes, his family thought it would be nice to start an annual Christmas tradition of donating shoes in his name to a local elementary school.

Kyle’s mom, Laura Davis, is a senior administrative assistant for AEP Ohio who lives near Athens. The donation effort was a small family affair for the first couple years, with about 40 pairs of new shoes going to needy children at Nelsonville-York Elementary School.

This year, Laura decided to open it up for other people in their community to participate. She reached out to Kyle’s friends in his 2008 graduating class, some emails were sent and the charitable drive was eventually posted on Facebook. That’s when the shoes started pouring in.

Laura Davis, right, is pictured with her husband Robert, left, her grandsons and two high schoolers who helped unload bigger boxes of shoes at the elementary school.

In late December, Laura delivered almost 200 pairs of new shoes to teachers at the school. And the boxes kept coming; in fact, Laura says 40 more are scheduled to arrive this week.

“I keep getting sent pictures of little feet. The kids just love the shoes – you won’t believe the smiles,” Laura said. “But the UPS driver probably hates me.”

Ever since then Laura has been spotting children around town wearing the shoes. She recently had to go to urgent care and a little girl waiting in line in front of her appeared to be wearing some.

“They were Kyle’s. I just knew. And it just made me feel so good,” Laura said. “Those are the kind of things that make my day.”

Her community is fairly small and tight-knit – and a lot of people knew Kyle – but Laura was pleasantly surprised by how many jumped at the chance to help.

Laura says her grandsons often tell her about all the new shoes they spot from the donation effort.

“Everyone loved Kyle. When we first started the shoes kept coming in. I asked my son, ‘Why do they keep coming?!’ And he said, ‘Mom, Kyle was never mean to anyone.’ I told his story on Facebook and there were more than two hundred comments on it. One person wrote, ‘He was nice to me even when others were not.’ That meant a lot of me. That let me know I did a good job raising my kids.”

Given the enthusiasm, Laura and her family plan to continue the “Kyle’s Kicks” effort – not just at Christmas but possibly year-round. Its impact is evident.

“My grandsons will come to me and say, ‘Grandma, there’s lots of kids with new shoes on!’ ” Laura said. “It’s a good thing. Because down here in southeastern Ohio there are a lot of kids who need them.”

4 responses to “Kyle’s Kicks Bring Shoes to Nelsonville-York Elementary

  1. I am proud to say Laura Davis is my sister . She has a heart of gold a stranger could be in need of help she will find a way to help them. My nephew Kyle is definitely smiling down at his mother saying your love is forever and he is very proud of his Mother. Love her and Kyle with all my heart!❤️

  2. This is a great thing to keep Kyle’s memories alive. Kyle was a great kid and we have many great memories with him. He was like another son to me and I am so proud of what Laurie has done to keep his memories going. Anyone who went on a trip with Kyle, knew he had to buy 1 or 5 pairs of shoes. Lol. He was known for his smiles and his shoes. I know Kyle is looking down with a big smile knowing that there are so many kids with new shoes in his memory.

  3. I think this is a very wonderful thing your doing in memory of your son. My little girl goes to east elementary and there definitely is alot of kids in need of help. This is a very kind thing your doing for these children and families I need bless your heart❤️ & I’m sure your son is very proud of his momma

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