KIMBALL, Tenn. — Each year Kimball city leaders give money to some area organizations in the town's budget, and with a little money left over this time, they were able to assist some additional worthy causes last week.
While working on this fiscal year's budget in the spring, the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen set aside money for the Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard, the Marion County Veterans Park, the Greater Jasper Jaycees and Relay For Life. Each was given $1,000.
City leaders also gave the Marion County Fair and the Marion Library Board $400.
At the board's August meeting, Mayor Rex Pesnell announced that there was still about $1,450 left in the donation fund. The board unanimously voted to donate money to three other causes.
The Chattanooga Heroes Fund, which was recently established to aid the families of the victims of the July 16 shootings, will get $500.
Payne said the fund would help bridge the gap financially for those families until they can get the benefits they're due.
"They're getting a lot of initial help, right now, but this is going to be more long-term and spaced out to try to continue to help the families," Pesnell said. "That's what we want to do — help the families that lost loved ones."
More than 25 funds have been set up to support the families affected by the tragedy, he said.
"You can't ever give them enough," Alderman Johnny Sisk said.
Richard Hardy Memorial School in South Pittsburg, Tenn., will get $250 to help with the construction of a baseball field.
And Rachel's Challenge, a national nonprofit organization devoted to creating safe school environments, will get $500. The group's mission to promote kindness and compassion among school-aged children is based on the life and writings of Rachel Scott, a victim of the 1999 Columbine shootings.
Pesnell said bullying is "a real problem in our schools now."
"We'll do what we can for [Rachel's Challenge] this year, and if they want to approach us next year maybe we'll be able to do a little bit better at that time," he said.
Alderman Mark Payne said he spoke with a friend from outside the area recently whose 13-year-old granddaughter was "bullied extremely."
"She shot herself, but she's still alive, if you want to call it life," he said. "It's a sad situation. It's a horrific deal. Any one of us sitting here would give $500 out of our pockets instantly if we could stop that from happening."
Alderman Jerry Don Case said his granddaughter was bullied in school and is now being home-schooled because of it.
"I hope this works," he said. "I hope this $500 makes a big difference."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.