The deaths in May 2019 of four members of the Reitter family in Genoa Township hit hard in the Olentangy Schools community.
Gabe and Jennifer Reitter and their children -- Gabriel, a Berlin High School sophomore, and Grace, an eighth-grader at Berkshire Middle School -- were found dead of carbon-monoxide poisoning in their home May 2. An investigation showed a malfunctioning water heater was the cause.
The loss struck a chord with Neal Clark, who lives near the Reitters' former home. Clark, a member of Tri-Village Sertoma in Grandview Heights, shared the story with club members to see if there was some way to pay tribute to the family.
"(Reitter Stucco & Supply Co Inc.) is a longtime business in the Grandview area, so some of our members were familiar with the family," Clark said.
The club, whose "simple mission," Clark said, is to "raise money and give it all away to charitable organizations," decided to take proceeds from its 2019 5K event and create a fund with the Olentangy Education Foundation in the family's honor.
The Reitter Family Memorial Fund formally was established earlier this month with a $10,000 donation. The fund will be used to enhance the educational experience of students throughout Olentangy Schools.
"We just in the last two to three years started doing endowed funds, so we were able to work with Sertoma to make this fund happen," said foundation executive director Rachel Haugk.
The fund was created with the knowledge and blessing of the extended Reitter family, Clark said.
Both Clark and Haugk said the club plans to continue to support the Reitter fund with proceeds from its 5K event.
This year's race will be held Aug. 15 at Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center. Registration is available at tvscharitychallenge.com.
The club has not placed specific directives on the funds, allowing the foundation's board to use them toward its overall mission to provide staff grants for innovative programs and learning opportunities for which tax dollars are not available, Haugk said.