By Lily Belcher
When Newsome High School graduate and Florida State University student Will Proctor passed away suddenly early December 2020, residents from all over the FishHawk area shared their sadness over the huge loss.
Local charity Operation Lotus reached out to his family to help raise money to donate to a charity in Proctor’s name and organized a vigil for friends and family members.
“The Proctor family has asked that we start a fund for anyone who would like to donate to a charity in Proctor’s name, which will be determined by the family at a later date,” explained Operation Lotus’ Facebook page.
Operation Lotus’ founder, Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy, and her team have asked the members of the FishHawk community and friends of the Proctor family to donate to Operation Lotus, who will give the money to the Proctor family.
In addition to Operation Lotus’ fundraiser, Alpha Delta Pi has created a GoFundMe page, which has raised nearly $50,000 in its first two weeks with over 1,000 donors, including fraternities and sororities at FSU and members of the FishHawk Community.
“William was a man like no other,” says to the GoFundMe page. “He lit up every single room he entered and made this world a better place. If you were lucky enough to know Will, you know he was a special human. … Will was the type of person who just made you feel at home. He was such a positive role model for so many and will truly be missed.”
In addition to raising money for the family, Operation Lotus organized a community vigil, led by Proctor family friend Dawn Tragakis, at Art Monkey Emporium. Tragakis is “like family” to the Proctor family since they are both military families and Peggy Davenport’s son, John Robert, was a close friend of Proctor’s. Davenport reserved the space at Art Monkey for the vigil, which hosted 200 people on December 20.
The vigil was led by Pastor Greg Rusch from Grace Community United Methodist Church and two of Proctor’s friends spoke, along with former Spanish teacher Lori Haley from Newsome High School. During the vigil, members of the community spoke about Proctor’s kind, loving character and reputation as a student, athlete and friend.
Operation Lotus is accepting donations through Venmo (@operationlotus) or PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).