GRAFTON— On Saturday, Grafton High School’s Scotty Hamilton Gymnasium was a buzz with community members all there to support one important cause: raising funds to start a trust fund for Tyler Poston’s daughter Karmendi.
The community was heartbroken after the tragic death of Poston, following a shooting that occurred late in June. Poston is described as being a hard worker, an all-around good guy and an even more amazing father to his little girl.
And since losing this beloved member of the town, residents of Taylor County have been doing what they do best and pulling together to assist his family through their unimaginable loss.
“Keisha White (relative of Poston) and Brianna Wilfong (family friend) had contacted me a couple days after Tyler’s passing about doing a raffle benefit,” shared Poston’s aunt Jessalea Posey.
She went on to explain that just a couple days after posting about their desire to host a benefit in Poston’s honor, Grafton High School Girls Basketball Head Coach, and former coach to Poston, Andrew Moore, had reached out about doing the raffle at a Girl Dad basketball fundraiser that John Paul McDaniel and himself were setting up.
“We were more than happy to be a part of that,” Posey exclaimed.
Through hard work and the kindness of community donations, the group organized a five-on-five basketball tournament that included multiple side raffles and sales, with all proceeds from the day going directly into the creation of Karmendi’s trust fund.
Throughout the month prior to the event, organizers were able to collect nearly 100 donations from residents of the county, along with those in surrounding counties, as Poston’s tragic story touched the hearts of many.
“They just kept pouring in. A lot from people that knew Tyler and a lot from people who didn’t, but just hurt for the family because of the nature of the story,” said Posey.
In addition to drawing community supporters, the event and story of Poston also garnered the attention of some well-known individuals.
“We had a cash donation sent to the bank account at First Community from recording country artist HARDY,” revealed Posey. “His song ‘Give Heaven Some Hell’ fit well for Tyler, as the song said, ‘you have a wild side, but you also have amazing graze!’ And that was just Tyler! As he also had a line out the door saying goodbye.”
And HARDY wasn’t the only “big name” to contribute to the cause.
During the event, signed guitars from Jon Langston and the Kentucky Headhunters were also raffled off.
When it came to hitting the court to play a sport that Poston had a passion for, the benefit boasted ten teams of five.
“We had more teams that wanted to play but we couldn’t fit them in to this one,” Posey noted.
Throughout the day, folks stopped in to support the family, offer words of condolence, share stories about Poston, take chances on some of the great raffle prizes, buy goodies provided by Heavenly Creations, purchase custom made t-shirts and in memory stickers and watch a few friendly games of basketball all in Poston’s honor.
According to Posey, the day was filled with an outpouring of love and support from all who attended, making the day more of a success than anyone thought possible.
“Between the basketball fundraiser, our raffles, food sales, flat donations from Saturday alone and the tie dye shirts purchases, we brought in roughly $7,000,” Posey disclosed.
“The Family knows they can’t possibly thank everyone without missing someone so, they just want to say from the bottom of their hearts how thankful they are for our community and the surrounding communities that have helped in one way or another, even if it’s just someone saying they are praying for them,” she added.
As Poston’s family continues to grief their loss they ask for prayers of strength for the days still to come.
With the event concluding as such a success, the family and organizers of the benefit shared that they plan to host the tournament every year on the last Saturday of July, in the memory of Poston.
“This year’s, and all future events will go into a trust fund for Karmendi or will be used to give her the life her daddy would have wanted her to have,” Posey remarked.
The staff of the Mountain Statesman would like to extend their deepest condolences to the friends and family of Tyler Poston.