A small group of area residents have started a memorial fund to honor the memory of a lost friend, while supporting her family.
The Jenny Geirnaeirt Memorial Fund was created on the GoFundMe website in June, by organizers listed simply as Friends Of Geirnaeirt Family, following the tragic passing of Morgan County Treasurer Jenny Geirnaeirt.
Organizers say the memorial fund has been established as a way for friends to honor Jenny with the proceeds set up to go towards her three children’s education.
Ray DeFrisco, a member and organizer of the group says many friends of Jenny and her husband Terry, wanted to find a way to show their continued support for the family that they could not do in traditional ways due to social distancing.
“So the we said okay, since we won’t be able to go in the traditional sense and drop off a condolence envelope, usually with some sort of amount of money that would be given to the family.
I knew that it was something that in my family traditions that’s been common, and I wanted to jump on the opportunity to, use all of the resources that we had to try and give them something to try and put toward the kids’ education. That was the number one thing we could think of to do something to help somehow.”
DeFrisco says once the group had made the decision and created the page, they looked for how they could let friends and family know about the memorial fund.
“So myself and a few other friends, we tried to connect all of the dots. Which is very difficult because Jenny and Terry know so many people, that we tried to just nail things down and connect dots to who we know that they would have known well enough- friends and family, to be able to spread this gofundme page out.
So, you know the City of Jacksonville and some of the connections there, the Routt and O.S.S. family, the Illinois College family, the community of Jacksonville itself. We were just looking for those key connections to let friends and family know about the memorial.”
He says the intention of starting the memorial fund was not about bringing more attention to the Geirnaeirt family’s loss, but about being able to allow friends and family the ability to come together in a way to show their support, and have a way to use their grief in a positive way.
“When you do go through grief of a loved one, or a friend of someone in this situation, you know, you feel the urge, just natural human feeling of, ‘What can I do, what is there?’. There’s no right or wrong way to share or send condolences, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve as an individual. There’s no playbook for this, there’s no guidelines set.
And I think the people that you come in contact with, the legacy that you leave behind is, the lives and the people that you have touched in your time, and this is just an easy way to say ‘Here, this is for you’, whatever it may be.”
DeFrisco says the support shown on the page has been a bit overwhelming, yet not surprising given the amount of love that has been expressed during this time.
If you would like to contribute to www.gofundme.com, and search The Jenny Geirnaeirt Memorial Fund.