TROUTDALE, Ore. -- Thousands of dollars in donations are rolling in to the family of a Troutdale teenager who was shot and killed at Reynolds High School on Tuesday morning. This is thanks to one woman using the power of the Internet to bring people together.
Daniela Makowski set up an account with gofundme in the name of Emilio Hoffman to help his family pay for his funeral expenses. As of Thursday morning, people from across the country had donated more than $8,400.
There have been some skeptics out there that this might be a scam, but it’s not. It’s the only online account Hoffman’s family knows about and supports.
"I could think of was to just pray. I just felt it in my heart that the family would need this,” Makowski said.
The only connection she has to Emilio Hoffman is Reynolds High School. He was a freshman who was shot and killed by a classmate with a rifle in the boy’s locker room. She is a 2008 graduate who now works as a mechanical engineer for Columbia Helicopters.
“People are donating from five dollars to three hundred dollars,” Makowski said.
She set up the account on Tuesday after the shooting. She’s raised the fundraising goal from $3,000 to $12,000 in a little over 24 hours because people have donated so much money.
"I hope they use it for whatever they need it for, the burial, I'm sure they have a lot of stuff going on right now,” she said.
Randy Olson, a close family friend and spokesman for the Hoffman family, met Makowski Wednesday night at Reynolds High School with a message from the family.
"I want to personally thank you from the family for doing this and for those who are questioning your motives that's very silly because your motive is very clear,” said Olson.
Olson said no amount of money can bring Emilio back, but the generosity from the public and Makowski makes things a little easier.
"This family is a good community family that has multiple foster children and give back to the community every day, so this is a nice opportunity to give back to them,” Olson said.
In the few minutes it took Daniela to set up this website, she showed compassion is priceless just like Emilio's life.
“It's really amazing what you can do when you come together,” said Makowski.
Olson said he is working with the Reynolds School District to set up a bank account where the money donated to the gofundme account will eventually be deposited. He expects to work all of those details out on Thursday.
A Reynolds School District spokeswoman confirmed Makowski’s Reynolds High School alumni status, and that details about the bank account are still being worked out.
Once the bank account is established, Olson said people will be able to donate to either the gofundme account or directly to the bank.
Second fundraising website
Members of the soccer community that Emilio's family is involved with have also set up a web page to raise money for funeral expenses. Their goal is to raise $7,500 for the family. Money donated there will also go toward the family bank account, according to a family spokesman.