Chardon: Donations allow families to focus on healing

11:07 PM, Apr 27, 2012   |    comments
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CHARDON: Two months after the shooting tragedy at Chardon High School, people have donated over $740,000 to help the community heal for the future.

The United Way of Geauga County, which manages the fund, has never solicited money for the Chardon Healing Fund.

That said, donations continue to come in on an almost daily basis.

The non-profit takes nothing out for overhead or other costs: 100 percent of the donations go directly to the community and to the victims' families.

Ron and Bonnie Parmertor, the uncle and aunt of Danny Parmertor, say the money has eased some of the burdens on Danny's parents.

"They're getting better, but they still have their moments, their minutes, their nights when they're not doing so well. They're still not back to work as of this time," Ron Parmertor said.

Some of the immediate uses of the fund have gone to help Nick Walczak, who was left wheel chair-bound by the shooting.

The Chardon Healing Fund outfitted his home with ramps when he was released from the hospital.

The fund also paid to send the first responders of the tragedy on charter buses to Columbus, where they were honored by legislators for their service to the community.

Of the $740,000 in donations, United Way Executive Director Kimm Leininger says about $70,000 has been spent.

While it may seem like a small amount, Leininger says a lot of the community's needs have yet to be identified.

"We're learning from people who have been through Columbine, the Paducah, Kentucky school shooting--there are post traumatic stress issues that may not surface for five, six years," Leininger said.

The affects of the Chardon shooting hits far outside the school walls.

Chardon Healing Fund Treasurer Deborah O'Connor says, the board is treating the funds like a personal responsibility, making sure they can address issues for the long run.

"There are elementary children who are saying, 'Is this going to happen to me when I go to high school?' and we want to make sure we address that now, not later,"  O'Connor said.

Bonnie Parmertor says her family greatly appreciates the help from the fund, and United Way.

"As today marks the two month anniversary, I don't think we can say thank you enough," she said.

Here's a breakdown of the largest donations made to the Chardon Healing Fund:

$100,000 - Fairmount Minerals

$51,000 - Forever Chardon (fundraising by high school students)

$25,000 - anonymous family

$25,000 - Cleveland Foundation

$25,000 - Key Bank

$25,000 - Rhein Chemie

$10,000 - Pentair Foundation

$10,000 - First Energy

$10,000 - Lubrizol

The students of the Forever Chardon organization will be selling t-shirts this weekend at the Maple Festival.

Merchandise can also be ordered through the link on this web page.

To contribute to the Chardon Healing Fund, visit any PNC banking office, or donate online, at the link on this page.

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