CHARDON, Ohio - The people of Chardon have opened their hearts to help victims' families of the Chardon High School shooting. They've also opened their wallets and the generosity has been felt from coast-to-coast.
Tracy Jemison and Kimm Leininger are board members of the Chardon Healing Fund. As of Tuesday, $952,000 has been donated to the fund.
Nearly half of the money has gone to the six families directly impacted by the shooting.
"Pooling of the resources has allowed them the time to grieve and to heal, and it's going to be a very long road to recovery for them. We're glad we were able to be there and help out when they needed it the most," Leininger said. She is the executive director of the United Way of Geauga County.
The Chardon Healing Fund was established less than 24 hours after the shooting. The support has been overwhelming.
"It was just amazing the generosity we received from the community. It's how big our community was; our community went from Maine to California. We had donations from all over the country," said Jemison, vice chairman of the Chardon Healing Fund.
"We've gotten cards and letters from people who graduated from Chardon High School in the 40s, 50s and 60s just wanting to give back and support," Leininger said.
A portion of the fund is set aside for the community's long-term healing, including programs for students and staff. It also funded a school resource officer for Chardon High School.
"Everyday is a new experience. This is a path we've never walked before and so we're learning everyday," Leininger said.
One-hundred percent of the Chardon Healing Fund stays in the community.