Mueller shooting aftermath: Public meeting slated about distribution of survivor funds

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Mueller Water Products and the National Compassion Fund has named members to the Albertville Survivors Fund Steering Committee, to set the distribution policy for funds collected after a workplace shooting at the Albertville fire hydrant plant.

Two people were killed and two were left with serious injuries June 15 after a co-worker opened fire on them at the plant; that co-worker was later found dead at another location from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Some $260,000 has been raised for survivors since the shooting, and input on the distribution of the funds is invited from those affected by the incident at a public meeting Tuesday.

The National Compassion Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that distributes charitable contributions after mass casualty crimes, announced the selection of committee, to be led by Snead State Community College President Dr. Joe Whitmore.

Workplace shooting: What happened at the Albertville Mueller plant

In consultation with NCF, Mueller Water Products appointed the committee, made up of local civic, business and community leaders. The group will help develop a draft protocol to ensure it reflects the perspective of the victims and the community. The committee also will be responsible for setting distribution policy for funds collected through the survivors' fund, to benefit those impacted by the shooting incident at Mueller.

The draft protocol may be downloaded at https://nationalcompassion.org/, and victims, family members, donors and others affected by the incident are invited to provide input, online, or in an Albertville Survivors Fund Public Town Hall slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Snead State, at 220 N. Walnut St., Boaz.

A link to the town hall will be provided for those who wish to participate virtually. All who wish to stay updated on the progress of the fund and plans for distribution are asked to complete the contact form on the Compassion Fund website at https://bit.ly/3vf1ri8.

Public comment on the draft protocols will be accepted online through Tuesday by email to Albertville@NationalCompassionFund.org.

At the meeting, the fund administrator will talk about the protocol and the process for applying for funds, as well as accepting input from the public.

“This committee is important to help ensure that 100% of the funds go to the victims in a fair manner,” said Jeff Dion, executive director of the National Compassion Fund, which has assisted victims of many recent atrocities, including those in Orlando, Florida; Las Vegas; Parkland, Florida; and El Paso, Texas.

“We are very fortunate to have a dedicated Steering Committee to ensure that our process is informed by community input and community values. Our goal is to help the victims and families as much as possible and as quickly, efficiently and fairly as possible,” he said.

The steering committee includes:

• Dr. Joe Whitmore, president, Snead State Community College, Chair

• Dr. Merida Grant, director of the Trauma Related Disorders Clinic, UAB

• Julia Smeds Roth, partner at Eyster, Key, Tubb, Roth, Middleton & Adams, LLP

• Jeffrey R. Dion, executive director, National Compassion Fund

• Dan Levey, senior lead of mass violence response, National Compassion Fund.

• Dennis Pedigo, sergeant, Chattanooga Police Department and survivor of mass shooting

• Melanie Pedigo, mass shooting family member

• Jessica Zimmerman, founder and mental health counselor, Willow Center for Healing

• Yolanda Kokayi, senior director of marketing and communications, Mueller Water Products

• Jonathan Lancaster, pastor, First Baptist Church of Boaz

Donations will be accepted through Nov. 15, with distribution decisions being completed by Dec. 2021.

Donations can be made at https://bit.ly/2Xe447r. Those wishing to make donations by check or wire transfer can email Albertville@NationalCompassionFund.org for detailed payment information.

Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or donna.thornton@gadsdentimes.com.

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Mueller shooting: Survivor's Fund meeting Tuesday at Snead State

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