A crowd-funded memorial for slain Nashville school custodian Mike Hill has amassed more than $350,000 in donations — over 14 times its goal. “Big Mike” leaves behind eight children of his own.
“Mike, thank you for protecting Nashville’s children,” said his verified GoFundMe. Local Nashville parents decided “to honor this hero” by setting up a fundraiser to cover funeral and other miscellaneous expenses.
“Mike deserves to be remembered for his selfless act protecting our children,” the appeal said of the 61-year-old custodian. Hill was one of three school staffers gunned down alongside three 9-year-old students.
“Mike was the beloved father of eight children. More notably, he was ‘Big Mike’ to his students, who will surely feel his loss in the years to come,” wrote organizer Anne Puricelli.
“Mike’s family deserves peace of mind that his loss was not in vain and that some good can come from it. His legacy can live on through goodwill and love. In the end, love should always win.”
Other GoFundMe fundraisers have popped up, too, which will benefit victims and the school community at-large. One such general fund is close to hitting its $250,000 goal.
Local charitable orgs are also managing various fundraiser efforts in the aftermath of the Nashville school shooting
The “Big Mike” fundraiser originally sought $25,000 for “Mike’s family to put towards funeral services, expenses and to further dedicate to causes close to their hearts to facilitate healing in the Covenant and Nashville communities.”
Now, thanks to over 7,000 individual donors, including two $5,000 donations, the account is up to its current peak. “Mike’s family is aware of this fundraising effort. They has been beyond moved by the outpouring of love,” Puricelli said. She noted, too, that it wasn’t the family who set up the account.
On Tuesday, Pastor Tim Dunavant — a former employee of The Covenant school who hired Hill — said his friend was “the kind of guy” to put himself in the line of fire for others. Another friend, Jim Bachmann, admitted that learning about Hill’s murder “took [his] breath away.”
Hill was a “salt to the earth kind of fellow,” Bachmann told WKRN. He was a “big strong fellow” who “would know the kids by name.”
“[Hill] didn’t deserve this,” he said. “He was a sweet man.”
Police identified the five other victims as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all age 9, Cynthia Peak, age 61, Katherine Koonce, age 60. Dr. Koonce was the headmaster at the school, police said. Peak was working as a substitute teacher.
Outside of GoFundMe, patrons can reach out to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The org recently established the Caring for Covenant Fund to manage fundraiser donations to the Nashville school following the shooting. “The outpouring of love from our generous and thoughtful community” necessitated a response, CEO Hal Cato said in a Monday afternoon statement.