Marshall County victims’ fund nears $600,000

MARSHALL COUNTY, KY – You’ve helped raise nearly $600,000 for the victims of the Marshall County High School tragedy.

The money is in two accounts, one at First Kentucky Bank and one at Community Financial Services Bank. Both accounts go into the same pool of money aimed at helping victims. The Marshall County Rotary Club is in charge of the donations. It’s now up to a committee made up of between 12 and 15 people to decide where it goes. Half of them are Rotarians and the other half are made up of people who started their own fundraisers for the victims.

The committee has met once. Rotary President Steve Fisk says they haven’t made any big decision yet, because money is still coming and they want their spending plan to be well thought out.

He shared a few ideas that have been tossed around:

-A scholarship endowment for Preston Cope and Bailey Holt
-Covering funeral and medical expenses (Fisk has been advised all those costs have been covered)
-Lost wages
-Miscellaneous costs like hotels during hospital stays
-Memorials for Cope and Holt
-Trust funds for injured students

Fisk says the group has decided to award four scholarships, two in honor for both Cope and Holt, to MCHS 2018 graduates.

The group faces many obstacles, including not knowing exactly how much they have to work with, because more money is coming in all the time. In fact, Fisk tells us deposits are coming in every day.

The money comes after countless fundraisers, including disc golf tournaments and benefit concerts, were held around our region. Fisk says Shop Local Kentucky in Lexington donated more than $200,000, Action Sports donated more than $100,000, and the #MarshallStrong bracelets brought in more than $40,000. “I think people just want to be a part of something that’s good. While you may not be able to directly give to those victims, you can feel good about doing your part, whatever that may be, however big or however small,” he says.

A big challenge the group is facing is defining the word victim. To Fisk, everyone who was at Marshall County High School on Jan. 23 is a victim. So, they’re trying to meet the needs of the families of the lives lost and the students injured while also helping as many others as possible. “Our fear is that the public will think we’re not thinking quickly enough, we’re not moving quickly enough. We don’t want to make rash decisions. We want to do it the right way. We want to do the right things and try to help as many people in the process as possible,” Fisk says.

Fisk also says the committee is working with the school district to pinpoint needs that are known. Their hope is that the district can communicate through the parents of victims what needs are out there.

The committee can’t simply vote to build a memorial for Cope and Holt and write a check. Someone has to own the memorial and maintain it. The same is true for a scholarship endowment or trust funds. So, the definite timeline is unknown.

The committee will meet next Monday to present their ideas for the money. Fisk hopes they reach their final decisions by June.

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