Honoring victims and supporting families in Chattanooga: How you can help
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — On July 16, 2015, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on a Chattanooga, Tennessee, armed forces recruiting and Navy Reserve center, killing four Marines, a Navy sailor, and injuring two others. CNN’s Impact Your World has gathered ways to remember the victims and support their surviving families.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) helps care for the victims’ families. The organization also provides comfort and care for all those who are grieving the death of a military loved one, including a 24/7 hotline with a peer support network and access to grief counseling at no cost to the survivors.
“We are heartbroken at the tragic loss these Marine families are now experiencing. These deaths remind us that our men and women in uniform face dangers both in and away from combat,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS president and founder.
Star NFL quarterback Peyton Manning has started the Chattanooga Heroes Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. The fund will provide short- and long-term financial help for the families of the seven victims. Former Chattanooga mayor and now U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and Manning made the initial donation to the fund.
“We deeply appreciate Sen. Corker’s support in establishing the Chattanooga Heroes Fund and hope that others can do what they can to recognize the noble actions of the servicemen who sacrificed and risked their own lives last week,” Manning said.
In lieu of flowers, the families of Skip Wells, Thomas Sullivan, David Wyatt, and Carson Homquist, the four Marines killed, are asking for the public to memorialize them by making donations to charities they were passionate about.
Clay Ingle, a spokesman for the Forgotten Child Fund, told CNN affiliate WRCB their 2015 toy drive will honor the Marine Corps reserve Toys For Tots.
“This is the least we can do to show the respect and honor that these young men who gave their life defending our country here in Chattanooga,” said Ingle.
The family of Squire “Skip” Wells has set up a fund called “In memory of Lance Corporal Skip Wells” at Wells Fargo Bank. Contribute at any Wells Fargo location and the proceeds will be donated to a worthy cause or be used for a scholarship at a later date.