JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- John Deffes ofJacksonvillewanted to do more than say he was sorry to the family of a Bears fan who was killed while in Jacksonville this weekend, and ended up setting up a web-based fundraiser to help the family.
John Deffes works as a civilian aviation quality inspector at NAS Jacksonville and is a 31-year resident of Jacksonville. He was sad when he heard about the murder of William "Chris"Pettry at The Jacksonville Landing Sunday morning, and thought it did not look good for the city.
"It has become commonplace, people killing people forstupid reasons," Deffes said.
He went looking for a way to give money, did not find a way and decided to do something himself.
He's set up a fundraising website on youcaring.com called the William C. "Chris" Pettry Jacksonville Cares fund. He hopes to raise $25,000 by the end of the month for Pettry's wife and three children left behind by what he calls a terrible tragedy.
"It's an opportunity for the people of Jacksonville to say, 'oh man, we're not just sorry, but we understand your husband was your sole source of income and you are a stay at home mom, and not only are you going to have to go out and find work, but it is a total readjustement for you and your kids,'" said Deffes.
The money goes directly to Pettry's Pay Pal account.
By Wednesday afternoon, around $4,000 had been raised through the website. In his conversation with Mrs. Pettry to obtain information so the money goes directly to her, he recalls vividly her range of emotions.
"Sadness, anger, worry about money, about what next, about how do you move on from this, just on and on, I felt so bad talking to her. She seemed like the kindest woman in the world. It is justterrible all the way around."
Karen Pettry, the victim's wife, posted this on the YouCaring website:
"John, my kids and myself want to thank you so much for doing this for our family. Our life has been turned upside down. Chris will be proud how everyone has helped his family during these tough times. I also want to thank all that have donated to our family. There are no words that can express how thankful I am. Thank you so much. "
Deffes says it is not about him, but about Pettry and her family. He is not sure if Pettry had life insurance, he felt it was not his business to ask. This way, she can get money quickly he says, because insurance and getting a job take time.
Matthew Hinson, 27, was charged with Pettry's murder.