|Gunman prepared prior to Ottawa attack|
A group of concerned Canadians are using grassroots crowdfunding to help turn online comments into money for the families of two soldiers who were killed this past week.
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was struck and killed in a Quebec parking lot Monday by a man suspected by RCMP of being an extremist. Two days later, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while standing guard at the National War Memorial.
Katlyn Harrison and other Ottawa residents launched the Stand on Guard Fund, an Indiegogo campaign, Wednesday evening with the modest goal of raising $10,000. They quickly reached that goal and have now extended it to $500,000.
"Many of us that started this funding campaign have worked on Parliament Hill in the past, some of us for National Defense and others have family members in the military as well," Harrison told CTV News Channel on Saturday. "We just wanted to get together and try to turn the outpouring of support that was so apparent online into something tangible for the families."
As of Saturday they had raised more than $300,000 -- about a third of that from individual donors on Indiegogo, and approximately $200,000 from corporations.
Harrison said she was across the street from Parliament Hill on Wednesday morning when she heard reports of gunfire. She and others in her office were "really touched personally by this tragedy," she said.
Harrison and the other founders of the campaign are now working with the military family support agency True Patriot Love to distribute the funds equally to both families.
"Grassroots movements like the Stand on Guard Fund are the truest demonstrations of our nation standing together in their support for the members of our Canadian Armed Forces and their families," said Shaun Francis, chair of True Patriot Love, in a statement.
True Patriot Love is also working Cirillo's family and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada to raise money for a trust fund recently established for Cirillo's young son Marcus.
"Kathy Cirillo, Nathan's mother and Marcus' grandmother, is overwhelmed by the compassion, the concern, and the condolences for her son and her grandson," reads the statement. "She has expressed her abiding thanks to all Canadians for their thoughts, their prayers, and this generous act of lasting remembrance."