Members of the Baker High School alumni were pressed into action after learning about the death of Paul Garner, a homeless man who died last week of hypothermia.
Led by 1980 graduates Toni Wolfe and Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick, the group said Thursday during a new conference that they have raised more than $2,000 and expect to collect another $1,000. It is enough money to keep Garner out of a pauper’s grave at the city’s East Porterdale Cemetery for a graveside burial Friday at Parkhill Cemetery.
“We absolutely did not want him to be buried in a pauper’s grave,” said Wolfe, who lived near Garner while growing up in Oakland Park. “That was very important to us. We started making contacts and opened up a fundraising account. He is now going to be buried beyond my wildest imagination in Parkhill Cemetery."
To put a face with Garner, Dent-Fitzpatrick said Garner was a great person. “He just fell on hard times,” she said. “This is what we do to help each other out.”
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Coroner Buddy Bryan said getting Garner buried at Parkhill was a combined effort of area law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, the Baker High alumni and Columbus businesses providing flowers, a vault and other services.