COVENTRY TWP. The Coventry Township community has come together to support the families of Taylor Galloway and Amber Thoma, two 14-year old Coventry Middle School students killed in a car/pedestrian accident on May 28.
The community is invited to continue to show its support by attending a community "Walking For You" benefit dinner and raffle on Sunday, June 25 at the Coventry Middle School, 3257 Cormany Road. Doors open at 4 pm. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Children under age 3 are admitted free. From 4 to 5 p.m., there will be a performance by Erica Dawn, a local singing artist, and from 5 to 6 p.m. by Dustim Michael, another local artist. There will also be raffle baskets, a 50/50 raffle and a bake sale.
Missie Szentes is helping organize the event along with Stephen Thrall and Charlie Byers, two Coventry Middle School 14-year-old, 8th-grade graduates who were friends of the victims. They approached Szentes, who most call "Mom" in the Coventry eighth-grade class, with the idea to honor their friends and provide funds to the family for whatever expenses the families have incurred.
Also involved in the accident were Alex Sarver, a 7th-grade Coventry middle schooler who was uninjured and Jordan Grubaugh, a 7th-grade Coventry Middle School graduate who is still in the hospital ICU recovering from his injuries.
"The money raised from this benefit will be divided equally among the four families," Szentes said. "Our community members have joined together to ease some of their burden."
Pre-sale tickets for the benefit will be sold on Saturday, June 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Towpath Credit Union, 2500 N. Turkeyfoot Road. Businesses who wish to donate money or a gift basket for the raffle, can do so at the Towpath Credit Union, or at, Weber ATS, 3522 Manchester Road and the Thirsty Gator Drive Thru, 3727 Manchester Road.
"Businesses throughout the community have been very generous with food and monetary donations," Szentes said.
For any other questions or donations, those interested in helping can reach Szentes at 330-598-7680 or at Coventrystrong@yahoo.com. Readers can also go the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/events/446783599008721/.
Szentes' children, Olivia, 14 and Milton, 12, were friends with Thoma and Galloway.
"Amber (Thoma) loved to play softball and basketball," Olivia Szentes said. "She was a leader."
"Taylor (Galloway) played the clarinet in the 8th-grade band and planned to join the Coventry High School marching band," Missie Szentes said. "Her passion was also Anime, which is Japanese animation drawing.
"Both Amber and Taylor made the Merit Roll in 8th grade at Coventry Middle School, each earning a 3.49 grade point average," Szentes added.
The 8th-grade promotion ceremony for the Coventry Middle School was delayed one day due to the tragedy. It was held the next day with a balloon launch and a vigil, Szentes said.
Amber Thomas was the daughter of Jenna and Greg Kleibscheidel. Taylor Galloway was the daughter of Eddie and Angela Galloway.
The accident occurred on South Main Street just north of the Circle K when a 24-year-old New Franklin driver crossed the fog line and struck the teenagers, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. The teenagers were walking northbound in an area with no sidewalks. A makeshift memorial has grown daily on the west side of South Main Street. The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident.