Weekend fundraising raffle nets $500 for fire ladders project

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Consider it full steam ahead for Emma Grindstaff.

The mother and grandmother of Dana and Sara Keeling was able to make a sizeable stride toward her goal of installing portable safety ladders for the second floor of Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency apartments at Pine Ridge Circle over the weekend with a raffle.

Saturday’s event, held at the TLC Community Center, was able to garner $500 toward the overall goal of $4,200 to install ladders.

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It was a joyous moment for Grindstaff, who has been working over the past year to raise awareness for fire safety at the apartment complex after Dana and Sara passed away in an apartment fire at Pine Ridge Circle. Working alongside the EHDA, Elizabethton Fire Department and TLC Center, the “Safekeeping Project in Honor of Dana and Sara” has been going strong with various online initiatives, on top of Saturday’s event.

With the final total from the event being announced by Grindstaff via social media, the project is now over the halfway mark of fundraising with roughly $2,700.

Action got underway near the first of the year when Grindstaff was able to meet with EHDA Executive Director Kelly Geagley, EFD’s Andy Hardin and TLC Director Angie Odom to plan the process of fundraising. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officially gave the organizers the greenlight to raise funds to install the portable ladders in each of the 150 units at Pine Ridge Circle.

Big John’s Closeouts was able to assist the project by getting ladders at a cheaper rate. Once the opportunity was made available, Grindstaff hit the ground running with fundraising.

“I had a dream after Dana and Sara passed. It was Dana and I remember her saying ‘momma, save the children’ … that’s why I wanted to do this. I can only imagine them dancing in heaven now after we got the OK to do this,” Grindstaff recently told the Elizabethton Star.

Individuals can visit https://www.givesendgo.com/SafekeepingProject#.WnoxlLdMhNF.messenger or search “Safekeeping Project in Honor of Dana and Sara Keeling” on Facebook.

The TLC Community Center is also accepting donations on behalf of the project. Individuals can mail donations to 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., Suite 5-7, Elizabethton, TN 37643 and are asked to make a memo on the payment to make sure it is going to the safekeeping project due to an account being set up specifically for the funds. Each donation is tax-deductible.