In the three days since Aaron Rey Ybarra opened fire on the Seattle Pacific University campus, killing one student and wounding two, Jon Meis has been dubbed a local hero.
The story of the 22-year-old electrical-engineering student’s heroism spread across social media Friday, and well-wishers have bought out all the gifts on his wedding registry (he is to be married this month) and raised more than $23,000 in under 24 hours on a crowdfunding website. Today the total was approaching $30,000.
Local ESPN radio executive producer Jessamyn McIntyre shared a tweet about Meis’ wedding registry Friday, only to have many of her 6,000-plus followers ask if she knew of any other way to show their support once the registry was bought out.
After looking for a website for people to leave donations and coming up empty-handed, McIntyre created one herself.
“I was thinking about all the people who wanted to show their gratitude,” McIntyre said in an interview today. “Five thousand dollars seemed like a reasonable amount of money to raise.”
But her expectations have been beyond surpassed, she said. “The money has just been astounding.”
McIntyre, 32, created the GoFundMe.com crowdfunding campaign to help Meis and Kaylie Sparks go on a honeymoon and plan their future.
To respect Meis and his family’s desire for privacy, McIntyre said she is not going to make any effort to contact him. After the site has been up for a week, she plans to get the money to him through an intermediary at SPU.
By 5 p.m. Saturday, 926 donations had been left, totaling $29,124.
One donor left the following comment with her $50 donation:
“Thank you for standing up, doing the right thing, selflessly. Because of you, people lived, will go on to get married, pursue their dreams, do things big and small to make this world a better place. I pray for you and your future wife as you begin your new life together. May God bless you with many wonderful, happy years together.”
Paul Lee, a 19-year-old SPU freshman from Portland, was killed in Thursday’s shooting. Sarah Williams, 19, from Phoenix, and Thomas Fowler Jr., 24, of Seattle, were both wounded. Fowler was released Friday, while Williams remains in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center.