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Fifth-grader starts fund for fire victims

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

When Peyton Webster, 11, heard that her brother’s friend and his family lost their home in a fire, she wanted to help. 

Ryder Webster’s friend, Koko, was one of the children injured in the deadly house fire that occurred in Frankfort Monday.

Jason Trail Sr. died later that day from injuries sustained in the fire, and the other five victims were sent to area hospitals. As of Friday, all had been released except Koko, who is still being treated at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.

Sarah Webster said that after she told her three children about the tragedy, Peyton’s first idea was to buy toys for the kids. 

“She originally asked if, after everyone was better, she could go buy all the kids a toy,” said Sarah.

But Peyton thought more about the family and then asked her mom if it would be OK to donate the rest of her “pig money” to start a fund for them. Peyton’s “pig money” was $600 she had left over from her 4-H Livestock Auction proceeds.

“I wanted to do it because all of their stuff got burnt and Ryder is Koko’s friend,” she said.

Sarah explained that Ryder and Koko were on the same t-ball team. 

“It was all her idea,” said Sarah, who said she was a little surprised by her daughter’s decision to donate the entirety of her earnings to start a fund but that her daughter’s generosity could be expected. “She’s very caring,” she said.

Peyton, a fifth-grader at Clinton Central Elementary, set a goal of $1,500 for the fund and created a progress chart to track donations. On Friday, she started the “Fund for Trail Family” account at The Farmers Bank.

“Her deposit was for $1,462.64,” Sarah reported by telephone after they left the bank. “I’m surprised at how big it’s getting. I thought only friends and family would help her but several people have read about it and have donated. I’m really kind of shocked.”

Some children at Sarah’s in-home daycare have brought coins to contribute, too, she said.

Donations can be made at any Farmers Bank office by earmarking the deposit to the “Fund for Trail Family.”