UPDATE: 1/9/12: Thank you to all who have sent funds to this family. As enough money has been collected to pay the funeral expenses of Clyde, we have shut down the page. If the family decides they want additional funds I am sure they will create their own page at a later date. Thank you to all who have donated. An account has been set up to benefit the other child lost in this tragedy, Nick Cianciotto and I would urge you to consider donating to help this family as well: http://www.giveforward.com/memoryofnickcianciotto
On January 7, 2013 Clyde and his friend Nick fell into the icy waters of Budd Lake and lost their lives. His family does not have the means to bury their son. Although Clyde's body has not yet been recovered, we are hopeful that when the recovery efforts resume in the morning (1/9/13) that he will be found.
By January 09, 2013 at 8:23 AMon January 08, 2013 at 9:18 PM, updated
The days ahead will be tough enough for Clyde Schimanski III's family.
His parents and two sisters will have to deal with an extraordinary loss. The Mount Olive teen and friend Nick Cianciotto both fell through ice into Budd Lake Monday night; one body has been recovered, and authorities will continue searching for the second Wednesday.
Authorities have not formally released the teens' names, though countless friends and family members who were gathered at Budd Lake Tuesday, including Schimanski's parents, confirmed their identities.
And alongside them was Melissa J. Phelan. Though she didn't know either boy, she had an idea how she could, in a simple but significant way, make the days ahead a little bit easier.
Phelan was told by Kim Maleyonok, a close friend of Schimanski's father, that funeral expenses would be a heavy burden on the family. So, with her smartphone in hand, standing just feet from the lake Tuesday, she helped Maleyonok start a fundraiser on GiveForward.com.
Through the site, donors can pledge toward a funeral fund. Phelan and Maleyonok set up the campaign so that a check will be issued directly to Schimanski's father, Clyde Schimanski Jr.
By 8 p.m. Tuesday, the campaign had raised about $75. A little more than an hour later, it was up to nearly $750. By midnight, about $4,400.
"It's already taking off," Phelan said. "People are already coming together for it."
Phelan has some experience with the site. She started a campaign to help Jack Gumersell, a 2-year-old boy who fell from a second-floor window in Long Valley in 2011. That campaign raised $10,242, she said.
Phelan said she's considered expanding the campaign to help Cianciotto's family as well. She initially centered it on Schimanski only because she'd met his family's friends, and learned how helpful the financial boost could be, Phelan said. But if she learns the Cianciottos could use a hand, she'd be glad to extend the effort, she said.
"Our hearts go out to the families of both of the boys," wrote one anonymous donor who pledged $100. "Thoughts and prayers are with you."