By Jill Gosche, email@example.com
The Tiffin community is channeling sadness over the deaths of three teenagers into efforts to help the victims' families.
Several hundred people attended a candlelight vigil on the front lawn of Columbian High School Friday evening. They were draped in blankets and held candles and flowers. The sign in front of Columbian bore a memorial message.
"We're letting the students know that they're not alone with grieving or coping," said Kirstie Myers, a Columbian junior who helped organize the vigil.
Monday evening's SR 53 crash claimed the lives of Brady Hedrick, 17; Clint Morris Jr., 17; and Brandan Schaade, 18.
Hedrick was a junior and Morris was a sophomore at Columbian, and they also were enrolled in Sentinel Career and Technology Center's public safety services program. Schaade was studying forensic accounting at Ohio State University's Lima campus and graduated from Hopewell-Loudon High School in 2010.
Java House, 45 S. Sandusky St., is donating profits from today's purchases to the boys' families. The shop is open extended hours, 8:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and is to have musical groups perform in the evening.
"I'm excited. I hope it's good. ... The community's embraced it already," said Georgia Reed, Java House's owner.
Reed said Nikole, her daughter who manages the shop, prayed about the situation and thought they should donate the proceeds.
"I just wanted to do something," she said.
A week from today, teams are to gather at Hedges-Boyer Park for a basketball tournament to raise money for the families. Jared Fleming, a Columbian junior, and Cody Scott, a senior, are organizing the 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
Fleming said Scott sent him a text message to ask him whether he wanted to do something for the families. Scott came up with the idea for playing basketball at the park because that is what they love to do, Fleming said.
He said he thought the idea would be appropriate.
"Brandan played at Hopewell all four years, and he was going to be playing at (the Lima campus of) Ohio State. ... Brady just played with all his friends," said Fleming, a former Columbian basketball player.
The tournament is to be 1 p.m. April 2 at the basketball courts at Hedges-Boyer Park. About 30 teams already had signed up Friday, and Fleming said it would start again at 1 p.m. the next day if it didn't end the night of April 2.
Fleming said he would like to raise $1,000 for each family, and he thinks they're going to raise much more.
"It's anybody that wants to play. ... The money goes to the families, and we're not taking any money out of it," he said.
Fleming said no matter what, Hedrick and Schaade could put a smile on a person's face. They would joke around, and it was hard to find them with a serious face, he said.
"(I'm) trying to get through it," he said.