Franklin County teens raise money for 16-year-old classmate's funeral expenses

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Franklin County High School students are banding together to pay for the funeral expenses of one of their classmates.

Junior Josh Hodges was killed in a crash last Saturday, the day of the school's homecoming dance.

The 16-year-old was driving on Route 607, south of Route 761 in Franklin County when he ran off the right side of the road, lost control and hit a tree, according to state police.

Hodges was wearing his seat belt while driving the 1999 Ford Ranger and police say he died at the scene.

Hodges' death has certainly been devastating for the entire community, but the student body, as well as the faculty at Franklin County High School, are coming together to honor his memory and help out the family.

In a tight-knit community, Josh is what his friends remember as one of the best of them.

He walked senior Hannah Prillaman to first period every morning.

"He always had your back no matter what. That was just the type of person he was. If you he didn't know you he would give you the shirt off his back for you," Hannah said.

With his smiling face and good heart, she said it's been a hard week at school without him.

"It hurts if I hear laughter because I feel like he should be here laughing with us," Prillaman said.

Close friend Dakota Campbell, also a junior, said the halls have been quiet this week.

"I'm going to miss him. I loved him like no other," Campbell said. He is also friends with Hodges younger sister, a ninth grader at the school.

On Monday morning, more than 500 students gathered in silence for a memorial at school. The vigil was completely organized by students. Principal Jon Crutchfield said it was his proudest moment on record during his time at the high school

Herbie Dillon, a junior, helped organize the memorial.

"The pain is not going to go away. It's always going to be there, but anything you can do to ease it just the slightest little bit helps," Dillon said.

The death of a child is something no parent ever plans for. To help with the healing and funeral expenses Prillaman, Campbell, Dillon and junior Caroline Cundiff among other students organized a fundraiser to help.

"It is to help his family because I know they are going through a really hard time," Prillaman said.

These students have made hundreds of ribbons to sell at school.

A labor of love, so far they've raised almost $1,500 to give to the family.

Crutchfield says the administration is in support of any fundraiser the students do for the family.

"This is all of his friends that are doing this. We as adults are saying go for it, do what you need to do because each kid just like each adult is going to grieve differently and going to want to contribute differently so we are just trying to support them to do that," Crutchfield said.

The students say they are planning future fundraisers in the coming weeks to raise more money for the family.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family for community members to donate.

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