Friends help raise money for murdered SIUE student’s family

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TROY, IL (KTVI) –Inspiration has risen from tragedy in Troy, IL, this weekend. The community is still grieving the loss of slain SIU-Edwardsville student, Taylor Clark, 19. He was killed for his car earlier this month, police said.

The accused killer, Michael Gordon, 24, of St. Louis is jailed on a charge of 1st degree murder.

Friends have rallied behind Clark’s family.  When things seem to be at their worst, it can be hard to imagine them ever getting better. But a small rummage sale to raise $500 for the Clark family has ballooned into a movement:  #TeamTaylor.

“I grew up with Taylor’s mom,” said Kari Lindow, organizer of what started as a rummage sale. “It kind of went bigger than that all of the sudden.  I decided to add a bake sale.  I decided to add a barbecue.  Then I decided to add raffles,” she said.

“Businesses have called us to donate their goods.  We don’t even have to ask,” said Robyn McGinnis, a former schoolmate of Clark’s.  “We’ve restocked 4 times now.”

An old church on South Main has become more of a department store.

“Yes, I needed a toy wing,” laughed Lindow, referring to all of the donated items.

Clark was killed when meeting a prospective buyer for his car who had answered his ad on Craigslist.  It’s been a devastating loss and yet there’s comfort in seeing just how much this young man was loved.

Troy, IL, and St. Jacob, IL, are decked out in red ribbons. Red was Taylor’s favorite color.

Friends have collected more than $10,000 in donated items and cash to help with funeral expenses and an education fund for Clark’s little brother.

“He was a really close friend of ours.  I just want to give back to his family for all they’ve done for us; all Taylor’s done for us and how much he touched us,” McGinnis said.

“He’s one of us. He’s one of our own.  The community has come together,” Lindow said.

One man even paid $100 for a bratwurst, she said.

The event continues through Sunday, 8am-8pm at 312 South Main in Troy, IL.