Courtesy of Scott Ellsworth
Just five days after Ohio State students Brittney Gallagher and Courtney Miller died in a car crash on their way back from spring break in Panama City Beach, Fla., a campus bar raised about $10,000 to donate to the women’s families.
Too’s Spirits Under High, located at 1880 N. High St., held a fundraiser Thursday in the women’s honor and donated its profits to Gallagher and Miller’s families.
Gallagher’s mother Mariann Gallagher said Sunday night she was thankful for the support from Too’s and those who contributed from the fundraiser.
“We thought it was very generous of them,” she said. “The support from everyone was just overwhelming.”
Mariann Gallagher said her oldest daughter had been reaching out to people on Facebook and thanking them for their support.
Scott Ellsworth, owner of Too’s, said Brittney Gallagher and Miller were frequent patrons of the bar.
“They were more than just regulars,” he said. “They became friends.”
Ellsworth also said he had been interacting with Brittney Gallagher and Miller via social media about coming to the bar for St. Patrick’s Day, which was the Sunday after their accident.
Gallagher and Miller were near Ebro in the Florida Panhandle March 16 when their car collided with a pickup truck after drifting into oncoming traffic, according to a report from the Associated Press.
According to the report, alcohol was not involved.
Two other students, Diana Mitchell and Lauren Kane, were in the backseat of the car and were hospitalized in critical condition, according to the AP report.
In a Thursday interview with The Lantern, Kane’s mother, Roslyn Kane, said her daughter was recovering but had pain and headaches.
The Plain Dealer reported that Mitchell was discharged Monday afternoon from Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Fla.
Ellsworth said the accident hits close to home as a father of two.
“I couldn’t imagine how expensive a funeral is that you’re not expecting,” he said. “As a parent, you don’t put money aside for a funeral for your kid.”
To help the families with expenses, Ellsworth said he felt he could help with a fundraiser, and from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., customers filled the bar in memory of Gallagher and Miller.
“Everyone was there for the same reason,” he said. “It had like a football Saturday feeling. Everyone was there for the same thing, rooting for the same team, so to speak.”
Ellsworth said the atmosphere of the fundraiser was high-energy and positive.
“We raised 10,000 bucks. It was nuts,” he said. “You figure six hours, 10 grand? That’s some serious work put in.”
Josh Lee, a fourth-year in communication technology, attended the fundraiser.
Lee said he, along with others, were spending more money than usual because of the cause.
“I did spend a little more money than I would for a typical night out since I knew all of my money was going to a good cause,” Lee said. “I heard many inside the bar also ran up higher-than-usual tabs as well.”
Ellsworth said people were “absolutely” spending more money than normal.
“There was a handful of people who came up and handed us 20 bucks, 50 bucks, and a couple of people handed us a 100 bucks,” he said. “It’s a true testament to the girls, and also our regulars.”
Elizabeth Taylor, a fourth-year in sport and leisure studies who also attended the fundraiser, said she couldn’t believe the amount of money raised in just one night.
“I’m proud that our school is such a tight-knit community and was able to pull together to help the families,” she said. “It’s times like this that makes you realize our campus isn’t as huge as it may seem, and that it’s full of big-hearted individuals.”