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Donations top $540K after 8 from Alabama girls ranch killed in crash

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - From a GoFundMe with over half a million dollars to children using their creativity to help an aching community heal, the Interstate 65 crash that killed 10 people near Greenville last month has not been forgotten.

Eight of those killed were girls, staff member’s children and relatives with the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch. A GoFundMe has raised well over $542,000 for the ranch, surpassing the organizations’ goal of $500,000 to pay for funeral expenses, medical costs and counseling. It is financial support to coincide with the nation’s spiritual support.

“The money is just a part of it, more so than that, we have had everybody praying for us all over this country,” Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches CEO Michael Smith said. “I just got off the phone a few minutes ago with someone from Georgia just to pray with us.”

“It’s so special to know that there’s good people out there,” he added.

In Opelika, 11-year-old Kyleigh White has followed her heart and is using her craftiness to fundraise for those impacted. White has been making keychains with uplifting quotes to sell in her online store, inclusivelykyleigh.com.

“After I heard about the girls ranch wreck, it made me feel like I needed to help,” White said.

The sixth grader’s website has raised $5,000 for the ranch and is now focusing on Cody Fox and his 9-month-old daughter, Ariana. The pair died in the crash.

A separate GoFundMe is set up for Fox’s fiancee.

“I don’t think there’s an age you have to be to help,” White said. “I’m 11, and most people don’t help at this age, and so I would say there’s not an age that you have to be – You can help at any age.”

The public is asked to attend a memorial service on July 15 for the ranch’s late children. Smith said the celebration of life will help provide peace to the rattled community and first responders.

“That’s why we want to make it public. We want people to come and have closure to this horrific accident and know that all eight of our children are in our savior’s arms,” he said.

The service will be at Church of the Highlands’ Auburn East campus at 1 p.m.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

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