Representatives of Mueller Water Products contacted the National Compassion Fund after the June 15 shooting at the plant that left two employees dead and two with serious injuries. Executive Director Jeffery Dion said the organization was already working on three funds — but he couldn't say no.
Dion said the NCF had already worked with Mueller after a tragic incident at one of its plants — the February 2015 shooting at its Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois.
Dion and others with the fund were in Boaz last week on the campus of Snead State Community College to meet with people impacted by the events of June 15. An employee opened fire on coworkers at the plant. He was later found at another location, dead from what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On June 18, Mueller and NCF completed an agreement and on June 21, the Albertville Survivors Fund was launched.
Mueller contributed $100,000; as of last week, $260,000 had been donated. All of it will go to people affected by the incident, Dion said.
That includes families of those killed, the injured employees and those who have suffered psychological trauma from the incident.
Dion has been in the compassion business since the April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, where $19,000 was raised and distributed to 12 victims or beneficiaries. Funds have been administered for the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, the Las Vegas shooting victims, the Stoneman-Douglas victims and many others.
At present, there are five active funds, two involving incidents that occurred after the Albertville shootings.
The Indianapolis 4/15 Survivors Fund will assist those impacted by the Fed Ex facility shooting that killed eight people. The West Hampstead Compassion Fund will help in the aftermath of an April 20 act of violence that killed one Stop & Shop employee and injured two others.
The Surfside Fund is raising money for those impacted by the partial collapse of a 12-story apartment building. The devastating incident June 24 killed 98 people, injured dozens and brought trauma all who survived.
The Colliersville Survivors Fund will help after one person was killed and 14 were injured on Sept. 23 at a Kroger store in Tennessee.
In addition to helping families of those killed, and injured survivors, Dion said the fund will assist those suffering psychological trauma as a result of violent crimes like active shooter incidents.
He said that wasn't always the case, until the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting. "There were people who had loved ones who died in their arms," Dion said, and they were treated as though the pain they suffered didn't matter.
In the wake of these tragedies, Dion said, many feel compelled to do something. Funds such as these give people a way to take positive actions when a violent crime or other catastrophic events occur.
The fund sets up a steering committee, involving people from the community, those experienced in trauma response and, as in the Albertville committee, people who survived a shooting incident.
The committee establishes a protocol about who receives gifts from the fund, and how much they receive.
Dion said the goal is to ensure people impacted similarly by an incident receive the same kind of gift.
The amount ultimately given is determined by the amount donated and the number of people eligible who apply for help. In the Fort Hood incident, $19,000 was divided among 12 beneficiaries; in the One Orlando Fund (Pulse), $33,626,480 in donations was distributed to 305 beneficiaries or victims; for the Las Vegas Fund (music festival shooting), $32,023,000 was donated and 515 people received gifts; and for the Stoneman-Douglas Fund (Parkland High School), $10,563,000 was donated and 1,517 people received funds.
The fund established after an incident at Mueller-owned Henry Pratt Company on Feb. 15, 2019, when four employees were shot and killed by a former employee, and six people, including five police officers were shot, raised $559,604, which was distributed to 30 beneficiaries and victims.
Dion said people who receive gifts from the fund can use the money for whatever they wish — expenses, a memorial, a scholarship fund. The goal of those who work with the fund is to see that every penny donated goes to those affected by the incident — that they give donors a way to show their compassion to people who are hurting.
As of August 2021, the NCF had distributed $95,805,556 to 3,055 beneficiaries, according to the NCF website.
Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Compassion fund taking donations, applications after Mueller shooting