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In honor of his former teammate and friend, Marshall Veal knew from the start that he wanted to make a difference.
Upon hearing that East Central University baseball player and Australia native Christopher Lane had been shot and killed in Duncan last Friday, Veal became overwhelmed with the desire to help those closest to Lane in the weeks to come.
What happened next exceeded Veal’s wildest dreams.
Veal helped organize a fundraiser known as the Christopher Lane Fund, and received a massive response. As of 9 p.m. Tuesday night, the funds raised totaled $21, 940.
“I was just trying to do my part and contribute,” Veal said. “I went to work at 4:30 a.m. and didn’t have my reception on my phone. When I received updates through e-mail, calls and texts, I was just speechless. The amount of people who have come to our assistance is just incredible.”
After meeting with Redlands Community College head baseball coach Matt Newgent and the team’s assistants, Veal set a goal of $15,000 to be raised. That goal was shattered by Tuesday afternoon.
The pair played together at RCC for two years after Lane redshirted his freshman year because of a shoulder injury. It was during that time that Veal and Lane became close on and off the field. Veal still vividly remembers Lane’s drive on the field and his likable personality off of it.
“I was his friend, but I was one of so many friends of Christopher,” Veal said. “Everyone liked him. You can only say good things about him. He was such a great leader, if there was a problem he would take time to help you fix it. The response around the globe shows how many lives he’s touched.”
For the time being, the distribution of the funds raised has not been decided. Veal said.
“Coach Newgent spoke with Christopher’s dad Peter, and he asked us to put the money in an account for now while it’s decided how the money will be used,” Veal said. “But it’s all for Chris’ family and friends.”
Veal said the money raised will be put into an account today.
The fund can be found on gofundme.com by searching Christopher Lane fund.
Veal’s efforts are one of a handful of contributions from the sports community in the last five days. East Central University has helped organize a fundraiser and Australian baseball club Essendon honored Lane before its game Melbourne, the town where Lane grew up.
The worldwide contributions have inspired those who had gotten to know Christopher, an outgoing leader of men who always had a smile on his face.
“It’s great to see Chris being remembered in such a positive way,” Duncan native and former RCC player Kale Thaxton said. “Chris was someone we all looked up to, and I enjoyed every minute of time I got to spend with him.”