After last Thursday’s tragic events, the Hokie community has reached out in a number of ways to help out the family of fallen officer Deriek Crouse.
One of the most successful is the Officer Deriek Crouse Memorial Fund. By late Monday night, the fund had raised almost $85,000.The money will go to his family to help them pay for the funeral as well as other potential expenses.
“When we first got the email from President Steger saying that Officer Crouse will be succeeded by his five kids, my heart just broke,” said senior human development major Bethany Darnley. “Especially around the Christmas season. It’s hard to lose a father in the first place, but during a time where you spend so much time with family. I felt horrible for them.”
Darnley and senior communications major Drew Jenkinson were quick to form the Hokies for Crouse website.
“I felt like I had all this free time because I’m done with finals,” Darnley said. “I felt like we should work on trying to do something for them.”
Through their website and Twitter page, the two are trying to raise money and awareness for the Crouse family. The website can be viewed here.
“When you watched the response online, everyone was saying that their thoughts and prayers were with the family,” Jenkinson said. “All of us are thinking about it, but I think our thing is bridging the gap between thought and action.”
Hokies for Crouse is also working with local businesses to help raise money. Bookholders is offering an option for students to give their books back to the store instead of selling them, and Bookholders will give the money directly to the Memorial Fund.
Students can also purchase a ‘Stay Strong and Gobble On’ T-shirt, designed by freshmen Jarrod Freeman and Sarah Little.
The shirt was inspired by an image Freeman posted online after the events on Thursday that said ‘Keep Calm and Gobble On,’ according to Little. The line was changed from ‘Keep Calm’ to ‘Stay Strong’ by popular demand.
The back of the shirt will include Officer Crouse’s name and date of death, as well as the phrase ‘neVer forgeT,’ according to Freeman.
“We’ve made a Facebook group for it, and we’ve already have over one thousand people in the last two days,” Freeman said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. And the t-shirt company we’re working with is helping out a lot as well.”
Shirts will be available starting next semester and will come in both long and short sleeve.
In addition, tuition will be waived at any Virginia public school for the Crouse children.
A state law says that a child of a fallen police officer can attend any community college or four-year public school in the state of Virginia free of tuition provided they are accepted as a normal applicant, according to Barry Simmons, director of scholarships and financial aid.
Simmons also noted that a fund is being created through the Bank of Blacksburg to help the Crouse children with other fees besides tuition.
By news staff writer Kelsey Jo Starr