When Eric Hanchey took his 10th grade daughter, Marissa, to Franklin Regional High School on April 9 and saw students running out of the building, he knew he had to help. What he didn’t realize was how many in the community and elsewhere would feel that way, too.
Immediately after learning about the stabbing rampage that day, he and associate, Jim Fox Jr., decided to help the victims by doing what they knew – making T-shirts. The two Murrysville businessmen designed, produced and have been selling the shirts for $10 each at their business, Fancy Fox Embroidery on Route 22, about a mile from the high school.
They are donating 100 percent of the proceeds to a scholarship fund they established for each of the 20 students injured that day.
Today the total amount of shirts sold is nearing the 10,000 mark, and 1,800 still remain in stock. The shirts will also be available on the company’s website, GoFancy.com.
Mr. Hanchey, vice president of sales for the company, said that he hopes to be able to provide a $5,000 scholarship for each of the 20 students injured on the 9th.
“The first shirt was made by 8 o’clock the morning of the 10th,” he noted.
And for the next couple of weeks, some 100 volunteers, which included students and parents, printed, folded and packaged non-stop to keep up with demand for the grey or white shirts with the school’s navy panther logo and the words “FR Proud” on the front.
On the back are the words, “We will never forget the brave students and faculty of Franklin Regional.” Below are the names of the local companies, Fox’s Pizza Den, Tedesco Racing and Turner’s Dairy, along with GoFancy.com, that donated a combined $20,000 to pay for the costs,
“We pretty much made T-shirts here for 10 days straight,” said Mr. Fox, owner of Fancy Fox Embroidery and co-owner of Fox’s Pizza Den Inc.
“Initially we were going to put them in the pizza shops for people to buy, but they were going so fast we couldn’t get them to the shops,” Mr. Fox said.
Volunteers produced the shirts standing at a 6-station silk screen press and churned out 700 shirts in a 10-hour shift.
Mr. Hanchey credits his wife, Chrissy, as the driving force behind production.
“She did three weeks probably 15 to 20 hours a day,’’ he said.
He said she also worked weekends, soliciting the help of the couple’s four children, Marissa, 16, Eric, 9, Tyler, 8, and Courtney, 19, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who came home to help.
For the first couple of days they sold about 1,000 shirts each day. For several days following they sold between 600 and 700. A pop-up stand in the parking lot outside their production facility served as a place for taking and placing orders.
Elaine Scalf of Delmont stopped by the business to purchase a shirt and stayed.
“I said to the teen selling the shirts, ’do you need help?’”
For the next week Ms. Scalf worked 8-hour days, taking and filling orders.
“It really wasn’t much, when there’s a tragedy, everyone wants to help,’’ said the grandmother of Franklin Regional elementary students who, along with her mother and children, is also an FR graduate.
The shirts have shipped to 35 states, including Hawaii. Television personality, Montel Williams, bought one and so did Governor Tom Corbett.
“Hospitals, alumni from out of town, sports teams playing Franklin all wanted to show support,” Mr. Hanchey said.
When the Franklin Regional Girls Softball team bus pulled into the Kiski Area parking lot for a game the Saturday following the tragedy, they were greeted by the members of the opposing team who were wearing the T-shirts.
The Pittsburgh Pirates purchased 60 of the shirts and showed support by wearing them for the first pitch at their game on April 18, Mr. Hanchey said.
Jenn Markovich, a cousin of injured Franklin Regional student, Jared Boger, sent a shirt to another cousin, Zach Andersson, a Red Cross worker in Malawi Africa. An employee of Longhorn Steakhouse in Greensburg, she also arranged to have “a couple hundred” shirts sold at that restaurant and at the location at the Waterfront.
“We just wanted to give back to the community,’’ she said.
Mr. Hanchey said they were are now selling about 200 shirts a week. Last week, a representative from a North Allegheny organization purchased 24 and another team from the Canonsburg area purchased 75, Mrs. Hanchey said.
“This blows my mind. It just shows you how a community can come together,” Mr. Hanchey said.
Alex Hribal, the 16-year-old sophomore charged in the April 9 stabbing rampage, remains in the Westmoreland County juvenile detention center and faces a June 4 preliminary hearing on 21 counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and a count of bringing a weapon on school property.
The last of the 20 students injured has been released from the hospital. A security guard was also hurt.
Details: gofancy.com, 1-844-4GOFANCY
Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.