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Lost friend’s legacy making a difference

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 11:51 p.m. CDT

I still remember the gut-wrenching feeling, the way my heart sank, the utter disbelief and then the way I felt absolutely nothing after hearing the news.

It’s been two years now since I received the news via text message that my friend Megan Boken had been shot and killed in St. Louis, the city I have come to love and call a second home.

It had to be a mistake. That’s what I kept telling myself. There was no way that whatever happened could have involved Megan.

But it soon became a harsh reality that she really was gone.

Megan and I had been paired up by our instructors in our freshman SLU 101 class, a class which helps acclimate the freshmen to life on campus. Throughout our four years at SLU, we often ran into each other in the training room or around campus.

She even made a guest appearance on my KSLU sports talk show, “The Vick Show.”

The news that she had been killed by two teenagers after she had refused to surrender them her iPhone rattled my world. The news was made worse by the fact she was on her way to play in SLU’s alumni volleyball match, and that she had been on the phone with her mother when the crime happened.

I remember feeling a sense of relief that the fall sports season was about to begin, giving myself something to take my mind off what had happened.

Monday marked the two year anniversary of Megan’s death.

A lot has changed in those two years.

My perspective on life has changed quite a bit. It may be cliche to say that you should never take life for granted, but after Megan’s death, I definitely have a greater appreciation for life.

Because you never know when life is going to tragically end.

The SLU alumni volleyball match Megan was on her way to play in has now been renamed the Megan Boken Alumni Match. This year’s match will be held Saturday.

But perhaps the biggest, and most important change in the two years since Megan’s death, is the change her family has fought for.

The strength the Boken family showed in the aftermath of Megan’s death has been inspiring.

The Bokens have fought tooth and nail to get cell phone manufacturers to include a technology on their phones called “kill switch” technology.

With the kill switch, any phone that is reported as lost or stolen is completely shut down, until the owner inputs a personalized passcode.

The technology renders the theft of smart phones useless.

The whole point behind stealing the smart phones was to sell them on the black market, often gouging the prices. A typical iPhone would often fetch up to $800 overseas.

But, since Apple introduced its version of the kill switch on all iPhones and iPads last fall, law enforcement officials in New York and San Francisco reported about a 30 percent drop in smart phone thefts.

Samsung introduced a kill switch in April, and Google and Microsoft plan to include the kill switch technology on their phones when the newest models are released.

The Boken family worked closely with New York politicians, who supported a federal bill that would require cell phone companies to place the kill switches on smart phones.

No amount of work will ever be able to bring Megan back to her family, but through their strength and their hard work, their hope is to prevent other families from having to go through the pain they’ve gone through in losing Megan.

Megan always had a way of making a difference in someone’s day, usually by making a person smile or laugh.

Somehow, in death, she’s still finding a way to make a difference.

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