Scenes from the Annual Wings of Hope benefit event

Saturday, June 14, 2014
By Nick Schneider

Wings of Hope was hosted Saturday at Shawnee Field. It was a family fun day of A fun-filled family day of free food, plane rides, fire safety sessions, games, finger printing, face painting and much more Wings of Hope was created five years ago for two young boys, Nicholas Deckard and Joshua Merritt, who were severely burned in a 2009 fire as a result of an accident on April 18, 2009 involving gasoline on a smoldering fire pit in Scotland. Nick passed away May 29 2009, while his best friend, Josh, died June 24, 2009. The boys are buried side by side at the Scotland Cemetery. This event was established in 2009 to help raise money for medical expenses for the families of the boys. Since then, Wings of Hope raises money for two scholarships that will be awarded to a student at Bloomfield High School and Loogootee High School for the first time in 2017 and 2018 -- the years the boys would have graduated from high school. Ten percent of all funds raised at the annual event go into a scholarship fund for the two schools that Nicholas and Josh attended. Other funds raised will go to continue to help local youth with baseball equipment, proms, 4-H camps and other activities that their families may not be able to afford. The Wings of Hope committee works with school guidance counselors in determining what mini-grants up to $75 are appropriate. The funds are administered through the Greene County Alliance. Most of all, organizers want the event to serve as a reminder of these two young boys who perished from severe burns, according to Brenda Combs, one of the event founders. Fire safety for youngsters and adults was stressed during the event by area fire, rescue and ambulance units.