BYRON CENTER, Mich. -- Family and loved ones celebrated Tara Oskam, 21, Thursday during her memorial service at First Byron Center Christian Reformed Church.
Oskam was one of two victims killed Saturday night during a police chase in Kentwood.
Thursday one resonating message shared by Oskam's family and the pastor was, "Tara was a gift." Outside lining the sidewalk, students from a nearby Christian school stood close to each other and prayed for her.
She turned 21 just last December, and her vibrant spirit is seen easily in the photos of her smiling, laughing, holding balloons on her recent birthday and dressing in costumes with friends. Family, her boyfriend, the love of her life Chad Beisel, and her brother-in-law shared stories of her compassion, her deep faith, and called her a "star, the real deal."
Oskam's parents Deb and Rob shared this handwritten statement with FOX 17:
“We are devastated and heartbroken over the tragic and too soon loss of our dear sweet Tara. Her gentle, kind and loving spirit and her love for Jesus was what made her so absolutely beautiful on the inside and out. We will miss her smile, her laugh, her goofy ways, her listening ear and her loving heart. She was a joy for all who knew her. Our only comfort is in knowing that she is in the arms of her Heavenly father who unbelievably loves her more than we do. Dance and sing Tara until we can join you. We miss you Tarabug.”
This year Oskam studied speech pathology, taking after her brother-in-law, as a junior at Calvin College, whose officials shared kind words. Family says she was proud to be a student there, and was dedicated to her faith.
One memento from her memorial service shared a photo of Oskam's handwritten scripture that were posted throughout her room. She was deemed to be wise beyond her years, living in hope and in God.
During the service, Beisel was the first to address the community. He shared how he quickly fell in feel with Oskam and her family, saying he "knew she was the one."
Beisel turned to Oskam's picture and read her words he wrote to her, alluding to the fact the only time he wanted to be with her in church in front of so many people was when he wanted to marry her. He said in part, "Your outside beauty doesn't compare to the beauty in your heart. You always wanted to make an impact on the world and you did."