Book set up at funeral home for local signatures, to be sent to Florida in support of victims, community 

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

After a tragedy such as last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 and injured 14, people from hundreds of miles away feel that community’s pain and experience disbelief that a mass shooting can happen anywhere.

When a compassionate heart feels this pain, it takes action.

Jan Ballinger, of Danville, is inviting the public to take action with her by signing a memory book expressing their love and support for Parkland High School students, faculty, staff and their families that she will be sending to the school in about two weeks.

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“I thought we should do something and let them know a little town like Danville is thinking about them.”

The book is available to sign Monday through Friday and is set up in the foyer of Stith Funeral Home at 318 West Broadway. Anyone can stop by to sign it and leave a few words of support. 

“Danville can come together because they care about the students and teachers, like the football coach who was killed when he stood in front of a gun to protect those kids,” Ballinger said. “People want to do something, but they don’t know what to do or how to do it.”  

So she and Mary Stith Hamblin, an owner of Stith Funeral Home, decided “We will just get it started.

After writing get-well cards for those injured in the shooting, Ballinger went to Boyle County Public Library and found the address, phone number and contact person for Parkland High School. She said a guidance counselor agreed to make sure each person would receive Ballinger’s cards.

Once Danville’s book is signed, Ballinger is sending it to the school where the counselor assured her that it would be shared with everyone there.

Anyone who can’t get out to sign the support book may call Ballinger at (859) 236-5345 and she will add their name.