KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — People are opening their hearts through flowers, candles, stuffed animals and words of comfort at the makeshift memorial for Deputy Ryan Proxmire outside the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.
Many in West Michigan and beyond are also opening their wallets to give the family financial peace of mind.
Chris Powell heads the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation, a metro Detroit-based organization. It bears the name of a Kalamazoo County native who was killed while on duty in Detroit five years ago. One of the many services it provides is supporting families of fallen first responders who may be dealing with expenses immediately following such a tragedy.
“It’s a major adjustment that this family has to go through,” Powell said. “Unfortunately, it’s the family bill. A lot of funeral homes, vault companies and casket people will offer their services. But sometimes getting that connection to the family is hard.”
So, they created a fundraiser for the family of Proxmire with an exact goal of $4,607, representing his badge number of 4607.
“It seemed like an appropriate number for our followers. 4,600 bucks is an attainable goal,” Powell said.
But within 19 hours of its posting early Monday morning, the fundraiser’s goal was shattered by generous donors.
The foundation received more than $33,000 as of Wednesday afternoon and the number continues to grow.
“It’s just a matter of how things go viral. In this case, it got some of that behind it,” Powell said. “It’s wonderful to see that coming in. And we look forward to seeing what the final number is.”
The fundraiser will go through the end of the month. The foundation also has thin blue line flag-themed bracelets for sale, in which all proceeds will also go to the Proxmire family.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at Western Michigan University’s Miller Auditorium.
Guests are asked to arrive by noon and masks are required while inside.