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Sisters deal with grief a year after brother’s death by working for the cause

Published: Jun. 3, 2021 at 11:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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Tyler Charles Gerth
Tyler Charles Gerth(Family Photo)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - He is the University of Kentucky and Trinity High grad who was killed while trying to capture the images of unrest in downtown Louisville last summer.

Tyler Gerth, 27, was shot and killed June 27 at Jefferson Square Park when police say Steven Lopez, 23, fired a gun on a group of protestors. Lopez’s court case is pending.

Family and friends of the young Louisville photographer are carrying on his goal to try and bridge the divide in this community as the anniversary of his death nears.

As each day passes, Tyler’s family members say dealing with grief doesn’t get any easier, but doing something important, something he would be passionate about gives them strength.

“Tyler was the baby,” said sister Brittany Loewen.

Little brother Tyler is still front and center for Loewen and sister Tiffany Hensley.

“There are so many days where I do want to pick up the phone and text him,” Loewen said, “or call him.”

Tyler’s sense of humor and the way he didn’t take himself too seriously is fresh in their minds. First and foremost, what they think about and focus on is their brothers quest to make a difference.

“When it comes to Tyler,” Hensley said, “he was just so passionate about the movement.”

The talented young photographer took part in the protests to help capture the images of what was really taking place in Louisville.

“Tyler was a Big Brother with Big Brothers, Big Sisters,” Loewen said, “and just truly cared about creating change and making a difference for the next generation.”

Be excellent to each other was Tyler’s motto. It’s now a badge for the sisters who have achieved a lot in a short time. The Tyler Gerth Foundation provides scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters through fundraisers.

“Tyler actually used to run races and he use to give to charity in that capacity,” Hensley said.

On June 26, they’re holding a Celebration of Life 5K and 1 mile Fun Run in Tyler’s name at the Big Four Bridge. The two talked about the workload they have created for themselves.

“Neither of us understood the amount of work that would go into essentially launching a business, we’ve gone into a family business together.” Loewen explained, “There was a moment in the days right after Tyler was killed when we all looked at each other and said there’s some real opportunity here for us to make a change.”

“This is something we needed to do in order to honor him, as well as continue the movement that needed to occur,” Hensley added. “At the end of the day, we still have a long way to go when it comes to racial equity.”

The foundation is still welcoming more sponsors and would love to have some more food trucks for the June 26 event that takes off at 9 a.m.. but will start a little earlier with a few speeches from the sisters and others about Tyler’s legacy. To sign up or get more information go to the foundation website by clicking here.

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