ASHTABULA — A memorial fundraising dinner has been scheduled to help the family of 16-year-old drowning victim Micah Nugent with funeral expenses.
Nugent died Aug. 22 at MetroHealth Medical Center after getting caught in dangerous waves the day before at Walnut Beach.
Melissa Zirkle, of Madison, who is organizing the fundraising dinner, said she reached out to the
Nugent family because she knew from experience their biggest need, aside from prayers, was help with funeral expenses.
Zirkle, whose own 13-year-old son, Jermaine, drowned five years ago in Lake Erie, hopes to draw 200 people to the dinner.
“I’ve hosted benefits and fundraisers many times before so I offered to host a benefit,” she said.
“I want to get the word out and make this a wonderful turnout for this incredible deserving family.”
Zirkle has made it her mission to honor her son’s memory and save people from the same tragedy through water safety education.
Her efforts, which include water safety classes for Madison and Ashtabula students in partnership with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, earned her the honor as the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium 2016 Water Safety Superhero of the Year.
Eighty-eight people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, and 73 to date in 2018, with 26 of the 73 in Lake Erie, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
The dinner for the Nugent family will be 6-8 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Andrus Party Center, 2258 West Ave.
Cost is $10 and includes pasta, meatballs, salad, bread and drinks. There will be a Chinese auction and 50/50 raffle.
To pre-pay for the benefit dinner, email email@example.com, leave name and phone number and tickets will be at the will-call window.
If available, tickets also will be sold at the door.