Online donations top $31,000 for hero, fiancée


June 08—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 hero.

After the story of the 22-year-old electrical-engineering student’s heroism spread across social media, well-wishers bought out all the gifts on his wedding registry — he is to be married this month — and raised more than $29,000 on a crowdfunding website.

When local ESPN radio executive producer Jessamyn McIntyre shared a tweet about Meis’ wedding registry, many of her 6,000-plus followers asked her if there were other ways to show support.

Her hunt for a website for leaving donations came up empty, but McIntyre created one herself.

“I was thinking about all the people who wanted to show their gratitude,” McIntyre said. “Five thousand dollars seemed like a reasonable amount of money to raise.”

Her expectations have been 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 won’t contact him. After the site has been up for a week, she plans to get money to him through an SPU intermediary.

By Saturday evening, 1,000 donors had left more than $31,000.

One left the following comment with her $50: “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.”

Other giving sites have been set up for SPU victims through GiveForward.com and GoFundMe.com.

Paul Lee, a19-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 wounded. Fowler was released Friday, while Williams remains in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center.

Coral Garnick: 206-464-2422 or cgarnick@seattletimes.com

 

Rules for posting comments