BRIGHAM CITY – The letter said, “You have been chosen to help make a change for good. Enclosed you will find a $100 bill. Please take a moment and think where it will make the biggest difference and a cause you are passionate about. Be creative. Maybe it’s a donation, maybe it is purchasing something to donate, maybe it is using the money to buy supplies to sell to make money, maybe it is split in different ways. There is an endless list of ideas.
“The only catch is you need to write us a letter and tell us what you did with the money. That’s it!! We have even enclosed a paper and a self-addressed envelope.”
Vanica Crane, mother of five children and a theater teacher at Box Elder Middle School in Brigham City, received the letter in the mail on June 14.
Crane decided to start a donation page for Jamie Kent, the Box Elder High School Principal, who had suddenly lost her husband, Ryan, the day before.
“Ryan didn’t feel good but we had no idea about the blood clot,” Jamie said. “Having a funeral was not what we thought we’d be doing this summer.”
Crane put a donation page on Facebook with the letter and money, then went out to do some work in the yard.
“I just put it on Facebook and if anyone wanted to donate they could,” she said. “Then I went out to mow and trimmed the lawn.”
When she came back a few minutes later, there was $500 in donations and it continued to grow. Within 24 hours, the donation had grown to almost $1,000.
When it was all done Crane gave Kent a check for over $6,000.
“We all love Jamie; she brought a lot of unity and good to Box Elder High School,” Crane said. “She came from rival Bear River High School and her husband had coached baseball there. She has done a tremendous job for her first year as a high school principal,” Crane continued. “She not only knows the names of the students, but she cares for them and knows what they are going through.”
Kent brought new energy and life to the school and was a positive influence on the students at Box Elder High School, Crane said.
“Interestingly enough, some of the most generous donors were people who had lost a spouse,” Crane said. “I don’t know Jamie and Kent that well, but I got a lot of positive feedback from my kids who go to Box Elder High School.”
Crane has two students attending Box Elder High. One was the Senior Class president and the other the Sophomore class Vice President.
When Crane called and told Kent what she was doing, Kent was surprised at the amount people donated.
“I received emails from students offering their condolence, they decorated my door, they sent me emails,” Jamie said. “We have had so much fun reading the emails from students and the student government kids. I’ve been impressed with how good the students have been to me.
“It was good for my kids to watch the amount on Facebook grow,” the mother of three children added. “It helped them heal watching the amount grow and talking about what they wanted to do with the money.”
She has two children attending Utah State University and one on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Ryan loved baseball, so we decided to donate the money to both high schools in Box Elder County because he loved it so much,” Jamie explained. “We are going to give $3,000 to both Box Elder and to the Bear River program and let the coaches decide what to do with the money. They can buy equipment or use it for travel. We will leave it up to them.”
Baseball is at the end of the year, and most of the money is spent. There are a lot of hidden costs to baseball, and the donation will help, Jamie explained.
Crane said she was just the go-between for all the people being nice.
“It just goes to show we can all be instruments of doing good,” Crane said. “When we are on the field for athletic events we are rivals, but at the end of the day we can come together and do great things,” she said. “Think about it, someone got this whole thing going by mailing us a $100.”