Thursday, March 30, 2017

Benefit lives on to remember by Kaitlyn Back

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Many people judge bikers by the way they look, but know that this is proof they are just as good as many people in the world. My Uncle Robert, known as Teardrop, and his friends have a memorial benefit for the shooting in ‘98; they have done it on the second weekend of March every year for the past four years. I go every year to help support them and help with the donations. Every year they have a group of bikers that pay $20 dollars to ride for the fallen. I talked to my cousin, Krystal Scott, that helps with the benefit; she was present the day of the shooting, and this is what she had to say, “The memorial benefit is for the maintenance and upkeep of the middle school memorial garden. The day of the shooting, I was in class. (After the memorial garden was established,) we noticed they had deteriorated the garden, and we wanted them to be in good condition for the lives remembered. Without doing it every year, the funds would diminish, and so the garden can be kept in tip-top condition (with the annual benefit). The amount we raise varies from year to year, but over the last four years we raised a little over $29,000. I knew the teacher because she was my English teacher, and three out of the four children were in my classes. To raise money, we set up on weekends to take donations along with the memorial ride and benefit. The way we get people involved is mainly through technology such as Facebook, local news, and through word of mouth-- speaking to people as we set up in front of stores and handing out flyers. At the benefit there is live music, door prizes, lunch, and the memorial ride.”
I also talked to my Aunt Annette Upton, and she said, “The benefit is for the upkeep of the middle school memorial garden in memory of the five people who lost their lives. On the day of the shooting, I was working at St Bernard's Hospital. The entire hospital went on complete lockdown. My son was in the third grade at that time, and all I knew was there had been  a shooting-- not the specifics. I’m involved because close friends started this benefit because one of the students who died was a family member. The benefit is every year for the continued upkeep of the memorial garden and in remembrance of those who have fallen on that fateful day. The amount of money varies every year. What we do to raise money is everything and anything needed such as taking donations, passing out flyers, selling raffle tickets, and promoting the benefit. We get people involved with sharing the story of what happened and asking them how it affected them.”  
So there you have it. There are many students today that may not even know that there was a shooting in that year. But every year the fallen is remembered and never forgotten. I'm honored to be a part of such an amazing group of people that keep them in their minds and raise money for them. It would be wonderful if more people, specifically Westside students, helped with this benefit.  Please appreciate the hospitality that Teardrop, Topher, and friends bring when they think of all the kids and teacher that lost their lives in a matter of seconds.      

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