Effingham County residents and businesses opened their wallets and hearts on March 8 at Kelly’s Tavern to help the four victims of the Imperial Sugar explosion, raising over $65,000.
Checks were delivered to the families of the victims on March 21. The money was divided equally amongst Effingham residents Justin Purnell, Troy Bacon, Paul Seckinger and Betty Fields, wife of Kelly Fields who died on Feb. 14 as a result of injuries he received in the explosion.
Overall in just three short weeks, the county donated over $80,000 in cash to the fund, and after all expenses were paid, over $65,000 was left for the four families.
Despite blustery winds and cold temperatures, over $41,000 was raised the day of the fundraiser with over 500 people participating in the silent auction, raffles, bake sale and food sales.
Boston butt sales netted $46,000 and was by far the biggest seller of the fundraiser. Silent auction sales were over $14,000, raffle tickets topped $5,000, T-shirt sales netted almost $1,000 and cash contributions surpassed $10,000.
Donations came in from as far away as Hawaii for the families, and surrounding counties helped with paper product donation, silent auction donations, cash donations and volunteer help.
The committee will keep the account open for as long as needed, committee chair Melissa Reagan said.
Anyone can still donate to the fund at any Citizen’s Bank location.
A check will be mailed out monthly to the four families.