Friends and former classmates of Amanda Ross, a Lexington woman shot and killed outside of her home last September, plan to honor her memory by sponsoring and helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house.
Ross's former classmates at Sayre School are hoping to recruit volunteers to help build it this fall and raise the $42,500 necessary to fully fund a house. They are spreading the word through mailings to alumni, word-of-mouth and a "Remembering Amanda" Facebook page. Ross graduated in 1998.
"Nothing takes away the sadness, but this will benefit a family," said Rob Turner, a former classmate and a volunteer coordinator at Lexington Habitat for Humanity, who is spearheading the build.
So far, the group has received $1,000 from the Philemon Society, a student-led philanthropic group at Sayre, and a pledge of $1,000 from Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, a brokerage and investment banking firm co-founded by Ross' father, Terrell Ross.
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Plus, Quantrell Auto Group has pledged to match donations up to $5,000.
"For Amanda's friends and all those who loved her to remember her in this manner is wonderful," Carrie Ross, Amanda's sister, said in an e-mail. "Honoring Amanda's life with actions is how we have collectively chosen to remember her."
The group's first major fund-raiser will be Sunday, when everyone is welcome to gather at Al's Bar, 601 N. Limestone, for a silent auction, appetizers and an acoustic performance by Stoll Vaughan, a Sayre alumnus. The event begins at 6 p.m.
If all the money can't be raised, Turner said the group would partner with another sponsor with partial funding.
In the meantime, a family still must be selected and they must pick a lot. But, Turner said, the process is far enough along to assure the build will be this fall. Amanda Ross was gunned down outside her home on Sept. 11, 2009. Former state Rep. Steve Nunn was charged with her murder and has pleaded not guilty. Ross had filed a protection order against Nunn before she was killed.
During the past legislative session, the General Assembly passed "Amanda's Law," which allows judges to order some of those who violate a domestic violence order to wear a global positioning device so victims and police will know their whereabouts.
"Our family and Amanda's friends have called upon the Chief Justice Minton and to every judge in Kentucky to give this law and this technology a chance to save lives," Carrie Ross said in an e-mail.
The Habitat build "pales in comparison to the bill," Turner said.
But, fellow classmate Kent Carmichael said, it may help the group grieve the loss of their friend. "It was just a way for us to remember her and do something right when something wrong happens," he said.
Amanda Ross's mother, Diana Ross, said in an e-mail that her daughter would be proud of the efforts of her friends. "This not only honors Amanda, but gives a family a home of their own. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people that have helped me and my family cope with this terrible tragedy," she said.
Ross won't be able to attend the event but has donated some of Amanda's personal items to be auctioned.
"Just knowing so many people loved Amanda and want to keep her memory alive has helped me tremendously. We will miss her forever, but she will live in our heart always."