$10,000 dollars raised for Morales family
By Lauren Huck
Special to Hometown News
After the tragic news struck St. Lucie County of the death of Sgt. Gary Morales, the community came together in support. Various organizations started planning fundraisers and events to show support of his family and recognize of the heroism Sgt. Morales demonstrated for his community.
The Royal Palms of St. Lucie, in particular, didn't let a minute go to waste in helping the family of the heroic officer, and it all started with a Facebook page.
The Royal Palms of St. Lucie, a charitable nonprofit organization benefiting women and children's charities in St. Lucie County, starting raffling a Coach purse package for $5 a ticket.
The raffle was announced simply through a Facebook event page entitled "Fundraiser for Sgt. Gary Morales Family." In just six days, the event page received more than 9,000 views and more than 150 "shares."
Before the winning ticket was pulled at the Royal Palms membership meeting Thursday evening, a few members stood in front of the room, each holding a sign with a number on it representing a number in the total amount of money raised from the raffle.
The entire room gasped when that number was revealed, and the total came to $9,834, just $166 short of reaching $10,000. This, ironically, was the same number as Sgt. Morales' badge number of #166.
At that point, Natasha and Chris Santoro of Fort Pierce decided to donate the last $166. So in six days, the entire community was able to come together and raise $10,000 simply through a Facebook post and word-of mouth.
"I was just in shock when I heard the news," said Crystal Nickell, president of Royal Palms. "My father is a retired Fort Pierce police officer, so this tragic story really hit home for me. I immediately thought of his two little girls and how there is an immediate need to care for these children. Never in a million years did I think we could raise $10,000 in just a short amount of time."
For more information on the Royal Palms, go to www.theroyalpalms.com.