COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – For the past three days, folks in Illinois have been dining at Ruby Tuesday, and not just for the food.
Twenty percent of proceeds from the restaurant’s Litchfield, Collinsville and Fairview Heights locations are benefiting the family of Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage. The 32 year-old was killed on the job in late November, when a tractor trailer struck him during a traffic stop on I-55.
Granite City resident Peggy Mayes never knew Deatherage, but that didn’t stop her from heading to the Collinsville Ruby Tuesday for dinner on Tuesday night to support his family.
“Just heard his story and it touched me, that’s all,” she explains, “it makes me feel good inside, and I’m happy to do it.”
Deatherage’s brother Kenny says he’s touched by all the support: “So many people that we don’t even know are giving kind thoughts and prayers.”
This fundraiser began with a manager at the Litchfield restaurant, which isn’t far from where Deatherage was killed.
Ruby Tuesday Director of Operations Jason King says, “He’s from the Highland area originally, where the family’s from, so he got involved with one of the churches there that they were involved with, and set it up, so we could do something to give back.”
Kenny Deatherage says all this generosity is helping him and his loved ones cope. He explains, “It’s what’s keeping our family going, I think, through this time. Through Christmas and New Year’s, things were pretty rough, but just hearing of things like this, and the overall generosity of people, it’s just been unbelievable.”
Deatherage’s family members and dozens of troopers also ate at Ruby Tuesday in a symbol of solidarity.
The fundraiser brought in several thousand dollars. Proceeds will go to an education fund for Deatherage’s young children, as well as a scholarship in his name at his Alma mater, Triad High School.
King says they plan to make this an annual event, so the community can keep helping—and remembering—Deatherage’s family for years to come.