MEMORIAL FUND FOR UW STUDENT-ATHLETES NEARS $200,000

Oct. 12, 2001 -- Major gifts from Laramie and regional financial institutions and an anonymous donor have helped boost the memorial fund in honor of eight University of Wyoming student-athletes killed in a Sept. 16 automobile accident to $184,000.

The eight are Justin M. Lambert-Belanger, 20, Timmins, Ontario; Cody B. Brown, 21, Hudson, Colo.; Kyle N. Johnson, 20, Riverton; Joshua D. Jones, 22, Salem, Ore.; Morgan J. McLeland, 21, Gillette; Kevin L. Salverson, 19, Cheyenne; Nicholas J. Schabron, 20, Laramie; and Shane E. Shatto, 19, Douglas.

Soon after the accident, UW established a memorial fund to mark their lives and their contributions to the University of Wyoming. Accounts were established at First Interstate Bank, Community First National Bank, and First National Bank of Wyoming. Following establishment of those accounts, First Interstate contributed $28,500 and Community First contributed $25,000. An anonymous donor has contributed $50,000 to create an endowed scholarship fund that will be doubled by a state matching fund. Further support has been received from Wells Fargo Banks.

"We just felt terrible that eight young men died in a tragic accident," says Gary Negich, president of the Laramie branch of First Interstate. "We wanted to do something, and being a financial organization we concluded that the best thing we could do was to support UW's goal of establishing and building a memorial fund in honor of the eight student-athletes. I simply hope that our contribution will help grow the fund to where it can make a real difference for UW and the memory of these young men."

"Like the rest of the Wyoming community, we were shocked by the accident," says Ron Englehart, president of Community First's Laramie branch. "Wyoming is like a big home town, and we have branches in five communities in which the student-athletes lived."

Community First President and CEO Mark Anderson adds that "We wanted to help with the healing process, and support the families of these eight young men, their communities, UW, and the state of Wyoming."

Gem City Bone & Joint Physical Therapy is organizing a community run/walk on Saturday, Nov. 3, to support the memorial fund. Registration will be at Gem City from 8:30-9:30 a.m., with the race at beginning at 9:30. The pre-race registration fee is $15; $20 on race day. For more information, call Stacy Hill or Birdie Boltz at Gem City, at 721-8024.

Individuals and organizations wishing to make tax-deductible contributions to the memorial fund can write checks to Memorial Fund for UW Student-Athletes and send to: First Interstate Bank, c/o Bonnie Miller, P.O. Box 1307, Laramie, WY 82073; Community First National Bank, 222 Garfield, Laramie, WY 82070; the Cowboy Joe Club, P.O. Box 3414, Laramie, WY 82071-3414; or the University of Wyoming Foundation, P.O. Box 3963, Laramie, WY 82071-3963.

By the end of November, the university will finalize plans with the families of the student-athletes to honor their memories.

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