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Tributes popping up across West Michigan as communities mourn

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As West Michigan mourns the six lives lost in the Kalamazoo mass shooting on Saturday, touching tributes are popping up in the three communities affected.

Newschannel 3 spent the day finding those little glimpses of hope in the aftermath of tragedy.

Signs are popping up all over Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Mattawan, as a show of support to the victims, their families, and the towns we know and love.

Sometimes the smallest gestures speak the loudest--as a sign along the road shows.

A white board in a library. A snapshot of students wearing their rival team's colors. Here you can see Portage Northern and South Haven schools sporting Mattawan blue and gold, in honor of 17-year-old Tyler Smith, the youngest person killed in the attacks.

"It's very, very touching that schools within our community were willing to do that and show their support in that way," said Mattawan counselor Scott Banghart.

Little memorials are popping up in the most unexpected places, as love wins out over hate, in the wake of this terrible tragedy. One tweet reads "I think I received more hugs today than I have in my whole life. We are #kalamazoostrong and #tylerstrong."

"We want to show we are so much more than what's happened, while showing support for the families," said Farrell Howe, with the Kalamazoo Public Library.

The library started a love wall Wednesday. They're also giving out free buttons that read #kzoostrong.

Others are selling bumper stickers and t-shirts, with proceeds going to the victims families.

And while the deadly shootings left a big scar on our small cities:

"When you use the word scar that indicates that it heals," said Sally Reames, with the Community Healing Center. "And that can be a good thing for a community."

We're hearing that Kalamazoo Christian and Hackett Catholic Prep will be hosting a Blue and Gold Out at their basketball game Friday night, in honor of Mattawan's Tyler Smith, who attended K-Christian through 6th grade.

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