081418 check

Lydia Kautz / GazetteA check for $8,500 was presented to the Fallen Educators Memorial from the Clint Bowyer 79 Fund Monday afternoon in front of the office of the Emporia Community Foundation.

Members of the Clint Bowyer’s 79 Fund Board presented a check totaling $8,500 to the National Teachers Hall of Fame Monday afternoon.

The funds, which will be used in the purchase of a third granite memorial book for the National Memorial to Fallen Educators, will cover half of the down payment, according to Executive Director of the NTHF Carol Strickland.

“We need a $17,000 downpayment,” she said. “We raised the other half from other sources, and so now we can do the downpayment. It’s really a big day for us.”

The new addition to the memorial will cost a total of $40,000.

Strickland expressed appreciation for the donation and talked about the impact the memorial has made to the families of educators who died in the line of duty.

“We had some visitors here from Parkland (Florida) recently and she said seeing her son’s name gave her some closure,” Strickland said. “That’s really what the memorial is for, is to remember those lost lives and for the family, for the students that are left behind.”

The memorial, which resides on the campus of Emporia State University, was the first of its kind in the state of Kansas, according to Strickland.

“It’s really remarkable to me that Clint, who is a native Emporian, former student at Emporia High, would want to give back to the community like this,” she said. “And I’m very, very grateful to him and to the board for choosing us as a recipient of this generous donation.”

This is the second major gift in two weeks of the fundraising on the part of the memorial. American Fidelity Assurance Company, headquartered in Oklahoma, presented a $5,000 check Thursday. Efforts are underway to complete the fundraising so that the new granite piece can be added by early spring.

Chairperson of the Clint Bowyer board Raymond Toso said the board chose to donate because members feel it’s important to honor fallen educators.

He said it’s unfortunate that the extra addition to the memorial is necessary.

“It’s just something that we thought it would be good to do,” he said.

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