Donors have handed over about $625,000 so far to the Stand on Guard Fund, organized by 18 former political staffers and federal lobbyists.
The money will be split evenly between the families of Cpl. Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent. Cirillo was gunned down while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Oct. 22. Vincent was killed in a hit-and-run while on duty on Oct. 20 in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
Organizers hope to raise $750,000 by midnight, said Laryssa Hetmanczuk, one of the organizers and former press secretary for MP Tony Clement. She’s hopeful it’ll happen.
People have been making anonymous donations of as much as $1,000 on the fund’s Indiegogo page, Hetmanczuk said. And corporations are handing over five figures with no promise of a tax receipt.
“We’ve been very overwhelmed with the support, but I think it’s in line with the outpouring of support you see across the country in other ways,” she said.
“Canadians wanted some way to make a tangible show of gratitude to the soldiers who lost their lives.”
The fund started late last week when former Parliament Hill workers began tweeting and emailing each other about what they could do. They’ve partnered with the True Patriot Love Foundation and TD Canada Trust Foundation. All donations go directly into the fund.
She envisions it benefiting Cirillo’s five-year-old son Marcus. Cirillo was only 24, she said, so likely didn’t have a lot of savings.
As Marcus grows up and goes to college, he won’t have his dad’s help, she said.
“Hopefully this money will be used to support him,” she said.
“I have a small child and I would imagine, if I was in a similar situation as Cpl. Cirillo, I’d be thinking about my child. I would hope that he would be happy to know that Canadians have stepped up and are trying to secure a strong financial future for his son.”
Any money raised after midnight will go to the True Patriot Love Foundation, Hetmanczuk said.
The foundation helps military families, and funds programs and research in areas such as mental health, physical rehabilitation and veteran transition.
True Patriot Love has seen a boost in donations in the last week, said David Fascinato, manager of special projects.
"In response to the tragic events of last week, it’s no stretch of the imagination to say that Canadians are that much more aware of the impacts of service on military families," he said.