After Warren woman gunned down, thousands raised to help her son
Even among some of the darkest news we cover, there are moments of brightness.
We've reported this week on the deaths of Heidi Errickson, and her brother, Frederick Errickson, in Warren Township. Authorities say Heidi Errickson's finance, John Reno, fatally shot them both before turning a gun on himself. Police were called to the home but there wasn't much they could do to save the Erricksons — they found Frederick dead in the driveway when they arrived, and Heidi dead inside.
But Heidi Errickson was always a "very positive force"at Central Elementary School in Warren, where she worked part-time, 17-year-old Connor Beard and his family wrote in a GoFundMe.com fundraiser, set up to help Erickson's son, Gabe Vallie, pay for his continuing tuition at West Virginia University.
Just eight hours after the fundraiser went live Tuesday, it had already raised more than $11,000. Nearly 150 people had chipped in, and nearly 1,000 had spread the word via social media. By the time you read this, there's a good chance the fundraiser will have raised much more.
Beard remembered Heidi Errickson from when she used to work in the cafeteria and at the front desk, his mother, Robin Oxendine Beard told New Jersey 101.5. That was 12 years ago, but Errickson made a strong impression, Oxendine Beard said.
"Even before this happened, he was mentioning the great way she helped his life," Oxendine Beard said of her son.
Years ago, Heidi Errickson had lost one arm in an accident that claimed her then-husband's life. But Beard was always impressed by her positivity and her versatility, his mother said.
"She could do anything that anyone else could do, and she always had a smile," Oxendine Beard said.
And Oxendine Beard said from what she knows, Gabe Vallie "is supposed to be an amazing kid," with a reputation of kindness toward others.
On the fundraiser page, Connor Beard wrote::
Ms. Errickson was a great influence on me. I hope you can join me in paying her kindness forward by contributing to a College Fund for her son, Gabe Vallie, who is attending WVU.
As I said, she was a huge and positive influence on my life. I remember when I was in Kindergarden I told her I had a dream of becoming President when I was older. Her immediate response was "You have my vote Connor!...You'd make a wonderful President!". In addition, she taught me that no matter your circumstance, anything is possible. Her handicap never held her back, and she always had a optimistic attitude.
Please feel free to share your positive stories and thoughts about Ms. Errickson on this page. Her shining light will be sorely missed at Central School.
Although we don't want to bother the family at this time, we will inform them of this fund in the coming days. I just wanted to do something to help their family and I thought of this. If you would like to contribute, I'm sure any amount would help.