Logan County Angels Formed to Help Families; United Way to Serve as Fiscal Agent


Moved by recent tragedies involving local students, a new organization has formed to help grieving families experiencing the untimely death of a child. The Logan County Angels is a non-profit set up to alleviate the financial burden associated with funeral expenses when a school-aged child dies.

“It never occurs to us when we have our children that we might have to bury them,” said Joan Haushalter, a local attorney and founding member of Logan County Angels. “I can’t even imagine what that must be like. And then you have to find a way to pay for it?”

Families will be eligible for financial support when they experience the loss of a student enrolled in Pre-K through 12th grade and are attending Bellefontaine, Benjamin Logan, Calvary Christian, Discovery Center, Indian Lake, Riverside, or West Liberty-Salem schools.

Logan County Angels is the inspiration of Bellefontaine Social Studies teacher Russ Hogue, who knows first-hand how impactful it is when the community rallies around a family in grief.  His father died of liver cancer when he was 13. He remembers watching his mother open sympathy cards at the kitchen table – many with money tucked inside to help with unexpected expenses.

“I still remember when my Dad was sick, people would donate to our family just to show us that they cared,” Hogue said. “People in our community want to help.  Many in our community have received help.  That’s why Logan County Angels is here.  Everybody can relate to losing somebody that they love. It eases the burden on the family.  They don’t have to try to coordinate something to raise money for an unplanned funeral.”

Lately, Hogue has been involved in fundraisers to help families cope with fatal accidents and terminal illnesses.  His experience is that it takes a lot of effort for families to set up and promote special online giving accounts at a moment’s notice.  Friends and community members want to help but don’t often know how – or have the certainty that the support they give will be used for the intended purposes.  So Logan County Angels has partnered with United Way of Logan County, which will serve as the Angel’s fiscal agent, able to accept and process tax-deductible donations that will be used specifically to cover funeral expenses.

“It occurred to me that maybe we could associate ourselves with an entity that is already established and trustworthy,” said Haushalter.  “As donors, we double-check, ‘Is this a real thing?  Is it legit?  Is our donation going to what we think it’s going toward?’  But with United Way as our fiscal agent, we automatically have that bridge of trust.”

In the future, when a local student passes away, the community will be notified by Logan County Angels that help is needed.  Those who wish to help can visit www.logancountyangels.org to make a gift to help that particular family. Cash or check donations can also be made at that time to United Way of Logan County, earmarking them specifically for Logan County Angels in the memo line.

A committee of representatives from the local school districts has been established to determine when and to whom funds would be disbursed and to help promote the need when a tragedy occurs. Members include Russ Hogue, Bellefontaine City Schools; Sally Stolly, Benjamin Logan Schools; Jennifer Wylie, Calvary Christian; Joan Haushalter, Community Liaison; Krista Oldiges, Discovery Center; Rob Underwood, Indian Lake Schools; Debbie Gonterman, Riverside; and Molly Smith, West Liberty Salem Schools. Ollie Moreland, a senior at Bellefontaine High School, worked with Hogue and Haushalter to set up the website at www.logancountyangels.org.

“Our purpose goes beyond financial support,” said Hogue. “We want Logan County Angels to create a network of empathy and solidarity within our Logan County community. By coming together during times of sorrow, we can offer hope, comfort, understanding, and practical assistance to families grappling with the unimaginable loss of a young student.”

For more information about Logan County Angels, please visit www.logancountyangels.org.

For more information about United Way, please visit www.uwlogan.org.