Support mounts for grieving family

Jerone Campbell

PHOTO PROVIDED Lemon Bay junior Jerone Campbell

ENGLEWOOD — As the grieving family of Jerone Campbell prepares to bury a son today, support has snowballed across the region.

Jerone, a Lemon Bay High School football player and wrestler, died Dec. 7 due to complications from a tonsillectomy. He never woke up after surgery. Funeral services are being held today in Englewood.

Friends and family remembered Jerone in an emotional celebration of life Wednesday at Lemon Bay High School that filled the football stadium.

Many of the students wore T-shirts bearing the words “Fly High, No. 28” — Jerone’s football jersey number.

High schools in Port Charlotte, North Port, Sarasota and Lake Placid are holding fundraisers.

The “Fly High, No. 28” T-shirts that were made to benefit the Campbell family have sold out, and requests are piling up for a second round of shirts, with orders coming in from as far as New Jersey. Car decals and bracelets donning the Fly High logo to remember Jerone will be available after Jan. 3.

The blue-and-orange car decals will read “Fly high in the arms of angels.” The bracelets will read “Fly High, No. 28” on the front and Jerone’s name on the back.

Dennis Weinberger is president of Draft Status Baseball in Englewood. He is one of the many area individuals and organizations that were shocked at Jerone’s death and wants to help.

“I just finished a tournament at Murdock when I heard about (Jerone),” said Weinberger. “I heard the family needed help and I thought this is one way to help. My brothers and I are all Lemon Bay High alumni.”

A celebration of life ceremony will follow funeral and burial services today at Englewood United Methodist Church.

Mary Kay Norus, the graphic designer of the “Fly High, No. 28” logo will take orders for T-shirts to benefit the Campbell family there.

“T-shirts are flying through the roof,” said Lisa Vassallo of Lemon Bay Touchdown Club and Booster Moms. “I have family in New Jersey sending checks to the memorial fund. Of the seven who donated, five sent $100 donations each.”

A bowling fundraiser will be held Dec. 22 at Englewood Bowl to help the Campbell family.

LBHS football players will serve food and bus tables at Ricaltini’s Bar and Grille on Jan. 6 and the restaurant will donate a portion of the checks to the memorial fund.

“I initially wanted to donate food to help the family,” said Laura Ray, an owner of Ricaltini’s. “I brought the idea to the Touchdown Club as a way for the football players to give back to the family.”

Ray has two sons who are LBHS alumni and football players.

According to Brian Morrow of the Touchdown Club, funeral expenses are covered and any extra funds received will help cover other expenses for the family. New Paradigm Foundation will no longer be taking donations to the fund, but the Wells Fargo account for the fund is still active.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Lemon Bay Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. today, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m., at Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St. Burial will follow at Gulf Pines Memorial Park, 2401 Englewood Road (State Road 776), Englewood. A celebration of life ceremony will be at EUMC following the burial.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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