FUND FOR LORENA PHOTO

A fund has been established for individuals who would like to donate that will go toward the purchase of a headstone and funeral expenses for Lafayette’s Lorena Orduna Martinez, a 15-year-old who drowned in June. Submitted

A Macon County High School teacher has reached out in an effort to help with the burial expenses of a 15-year-old student who drowned last month.

Cristy Wyatt, who was teaching English Learning (EL) for the first time during the 2020-21 school year, has set up a memorial fund for Lorena Orduna Martinez with Citizens Bank.

“I had Lorena in my class,” Wyatt said. “She was one of my EL students. I called the monument place to see how much it would be. Then, I contacted the parents to make sure they were OK with it. They were. Then, I set up the account and put it on Facebook and put up some fliers.”

Lorena was a rising sophomore at Macon County High.

“You have a really small class size (in an EL class),” Wyatt said. “She was one of my seven students. You kind of become a family. When you are that small in size, they almost become a part of you. They all stand out, but she just really stood out.”

The purpose of the memorial fund is to be able to provide a headstone for Lorena’s burial site and also to help offset the cost of the funeral.

“It’s actually going pretty good,” Wyatt said. “We had one family who contributed (considerably). Between them and (some co-workers), it was about $1,200.”

With contributions from the family included, the tombstone has been ordered.

“So far, the funds will go to the tombstone,” Wyatt said. “If there’s more, it will go toward funeral expenses.”

Through two weeks, there has been $1,695 donated.

“(Martinez’s family is) very appreciative,” Wyatt said. “It’s been very rewarding for me. A couple of people have donated to where I have no idea who they are. They don’t even live here. They just want to help.”

Donations to the memorial fund can still be made for approximately two weeks.

“It’s just trying to help someone else out,” Wyatt said. “Being a small community, I feel like it’s our job to help those in need. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

On June 11, Martinez was believed to have drowned while attempting to help a man who was drowning in the Shiloh swimming hole, which is located in the western portion of Macon County.

The bodies of both were recovered by rescue personnel in the water. Neither individual could be resuscitated.

Funeral and burial services were held on June 15.

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