POLL: Have you given money to the shooting victims?
Go Fund Me accounts
Carson Holmquist: $14,836
Dennis Pedigo: $20,663
Randall Smith: $17,306
Other fundraising efforts
Faith and Culture Center | Our Muslim Neighbor: $15,804
UTC Greek Community’s Fund For Fallen Chattanooga Heroes: $7,840
7-16 Freedom Fund (scholarship fund): $53,000*
Source: Commuity Foundation of Greater Chattanooga Executive Director Pete Cooper and Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga President Bassam Issa
*Includes a $20,200 donaton from the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga. Does not include credit card payments or pledges to the Community Foundation.
Chattanooga Heroes Fund: Peyton Manning has asked the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga not to disclose how much money the fund has raised
How to help
To donate money through the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga’s 7-16 Freedom Fund, go to cfgc.org.
To donate through the National Compassion Fund, visit nationalcompassionfund.org. An interested donor can also contact Stacy Richardson, Berke’s chief policy officer, at 423-643-7812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The families of the five fallen military servicemen will each receive about $24,000 after a fundraising effort yielded more than $100,000 in donations.
During a check ceremony at Chattanooga City Hall on Friday, the leaders of two companies and two local Veterans of Foreign Wars posts announced they had raised the money for the families of Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells and Staff Sgt. David Wyatt.
David Ferguson, vice president of Riverside Transport, said members of his company raised $80,000. Justin Ovson, a project manager at PCL Industrial Construction, said employees at his company raised $27,680.
Members of VFW posts in Chattanooga and Cleveland, meanwhile, announced they were donating a combined $10,875 to the families. In total, the three donations equal $118,555. The money will be divided five ways.
Friday's event was quiet and quick, lasting about 15 minutes. The representatives from the companies and the VFW posts spoke softly. The widows of Smith and Wyatt sat next to each other in the front row. They did not speak publicly, though they hugged and chatted with the donors and others in attendance, including Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
Kelly Cotton, the wife of Capt. Chris Cotton, the inspector-instructor for Mike Battery, accepted the donations on behalf of the families who are not in Chattanooga.
"We have been overwhelmed by the graciousness and generosity of the people of Chattanooga," Kelly Cotton said. "We have felt your prayers, and we have been humbled by your show of love."
The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce: Ooltewah-Collegedale District Council organized Friday's check donations. The group became the focal point for many donations after its president, Kimberly Oliver, received a call in the days after the shooting from the office of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, asking for help obtaining hotel rooms for the family of Wyatt.
Oliver then asked other members of the chamber if they could help raise money for Wyatt's family's expenses while they were in town for his funeral. Then a local military chaplain asked the group to do the same for Smith's family.
The council began posting on its Facebook page and emailing local businesses, asking for donations. Kelly Cotton, who said she was receiving many donation proposals, began to refer those proposals to the council.
"We were on a mission, I guess," said Donna Christian-Lowe, the vice president of diversity and inclusion for the council. "A quiet mission."
Berke's office is now helping handle the donations, giving the money to the National Compassion Fund. That fund, started by a tax-exempt nonprofit called the National Center for Victims of Crime, is designed to handle donations to the victims and families of mass-casualty crimes, like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The donors and the recipients will not have to pay taxes on the money they raise, said Christian-Lowe.
On Friday, those donating to the victims' families addressed the widows, Angie Smith and Lorri Wyatt.
"If there is anything we can do for you, do not hesitate to get a hold of us," said Terry Thomas, the quartermaster for VFW Post 1289. "You will always be a part of our family."
Said David Ferguson, of Riverside Transport: "It's not about Riverside. It's about these families. It's about the sacrifice that they and their husbands made."
Said Justin Ovson, of PCL Industrial Construction: "It's not our intent to replace what you have lost. It's our intent to allow you to focus on what's important: taking care of each other, taking care of your grief and your families."
Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at tjett@times freepress.com or at 423-757-6476.