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Fundraising continues for Estill County teen who lost both parents


IRVINE, Ky. (WKYT) - A community is coming together to help a Kentucky teen who has the difficult task of burying both of his parents.

Joe Snowden's father, Gary, passed away on March 21 after a long battle with cancer. Last Thursday his mother, Miranda Lewis, died in a single-vehicle crash on Furnace Junction Road.

"Literally, I just felt like my heart was breaking for Joe," said Melissa Neal, Estill County High School Senior Counselor .

Neal has been working with the 18-year-old recently on his plans for continuing his education after graduation. She joined with other educators at the school to begin raising money to help him pay for both funerals.

"On Friday it kinda started to spread like wildfire," said Arthur Ballard the Administrative Manager and Athletic Director at the high school.

By the end of the day they had several hundred dollars, but knew they would need more.

"We initially started with the hope of just being able to pay off the funeral debt for what he owed for the funeral for his father and his mother, " Ballard said.

Over the weekend Snowden's story spread, by word of mouth and social media. Churches in Estill County began making donations and before school started Monday morning the goal of paying for both funerals had been met.

"We're overwhelmed and very, very pleased," Neal said.

But administrators hope the giving continues. They want the excess money to go to Snowden's education and to help pay for living expenses. He's been staying with friends since his mother died in that crash.

"The car was his car," Ballard said. "That's how he got to work, how he got to school, and we want him to be able to find another ride."

They've set up a new fund, and hope word of it spreads as well. .

"It's difficult to watch a person that age have to make the decisions that he's having to make and go through this kind of tragedy in his life," Ballard said.

"Hopefully he will just always know that the community loved and cared for him and wanted to make a difference in his life," said Neal.

Donations for Snowden can now be made at:

Joe Snowden Fund
Citizens Guaranty Bank
P.O. Box 630
Irvine, KY 40336


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