Pastors accept donations from WMC-TV fundraising drive - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Pastors accept donations from WMC-TV fundraising drive

In a small conference room, with two pastors and an attorney, Action News Five anchor Kym Clark handed over more than $46,000.  The money, donated by Action News 5 viewers, is earmarked for the surviving children of the massacre on Lester Street.

"We also let people know that we care," said Pastor Keith Norman of First Baptist Church on Broad.  "And for the future, there is hope, and I think that's the most important thing."

"It's really, really, really been about the kids from the very start," said Pastor Franky Thomas of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, "and so I think we're happy for the kids."

The children are still recovering from their injuries.  While the two pastors have led the effort to secure their futures, Valerie Smith, the attorney sitting alongside, is the one in charge.

"I don't represent anybody but the children," she said.

Smith has been appointed guardian ad litem for the children.  Her title means she's the crusader for the their best interests.

"That's my whole goal, is to protect these kids and assist in the protection of these kids," she said. "To provide input on what I think is important for the kids, and why I thinks it's important for the kids and what we can do to help them."

Her conclusions and subsequent legal battles will be based on her investigation.  A situation this complex, she said, requires attention to every single detail.

"The home life, the school, anything that needs to be investigated, whether they're having any medical problems or psychological problems," she said.

Questions needing answers -answers that could ultimately decide what's best for the children and all that money.

The money will go to the children, but exactly how, when, and in which form must be decided.

Meanwhile, the Memphis City Council is scheduled to have a similar discussion on another $30,000 tomorrow.

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