Fund Raising Mounts for Families Affected by March Shootings
Various fundraising efforts begun not long after one person was killed and three others were gravely wounded after a road-rage sparked shooting spree on March 15 and 16 have increased, with new efforts being announced.
Michael Burks, owner of the now-closed Garden of Read’n Christian Bookstore and also the Fuel Fitness stores across the state said even more funds came in after the bookstore had closed.
“We opened up an envelope from one of our vendors after the store had closed and it had a check from Tyndale, which was one of our biggest vendors,” said Burks. “The check was for $8,000 which is going to bless each of the four families (affected by the shootings) by approximately $2,000 apiece. I believe that by the end of the day today, we will have eclipsed the $60,000 mark, so we’ll be able to write four checks for about $15,000 each, so we’re super excited that we hit that mark.”
Before the bookstore closed, Burks pledged that every penny the bookstore made before it closed its doors would be donated to the four families.
One of those families is that of severely wounded Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, who is being treated for gunshot wounds to his head, face and neck at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Burks said on Saturday, that his other business, Fuel Fitness, was kicking off another fundraiser, this time just for the Palmer family, where once again, all monies raised would be donated to a nonprofit organization created to assist the Palmers, 301 Strong, a fund created by Missoula Police Officer Mike Sunderland.
“Kurt’s Polaris has chosen to partner with us and has given us a fantastic deal on a new 450 Sportsman ATV, and delivered it over to our Fuel store several days ago,” he said. “We just got the tickets, so we are raffling off the ATV,” he said. “They are $20 each and there’s no limit on how many you can buy, and 100 percent of the proceeds are going to the 301 Strong Association, which will go directly to Trooper Palmer’s family. Every penny raised is going to go to this family while they try to move on from this tragedy.”
Burks said all seven of the Fuel Fitness stores will be selling the tickets, from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho to Billings, Montana. The winning ticket drawing will be broadcast on Facebook live, so anyone who purchases a ticket has a chance to win.
28 year old Jonathan Bertsch has pleaded not guilty to one charge of deliberate homicide and three charges of attempted deliberate homicide in the case. He is in the Missoula County Jail on $2 million bail.