There among the headstones at Mount Rest cementary, you'll find a simple marker for 15-year-old Brianna Heeney. It's a grave not quite fresh, not quite finished either.
Brianna was a cheerleader and a dancer, a sophomore at Ovid Elsie High School. She died July 25 suddenly, of a condition even the autopsy has yet to diagnose.
Her mom Alicia, a widow, scrapped together what she could for a funeral. A headstone was simply not in the budget.
That's when Mychael Horak saw his chance. He and Brianna had been friends since they were 5. "It seems like forever really," he says.
He started saving from his job at the local video story and from birthday morning too, and then Christmas Eve, he came to Heeney with the result--$776.
"He was one of Brianna's closest, dearest friends," Alicia Heeney told us, through tears. "And I'm proud of him."
The community will help fill in the gaps, raising money to pay off the Heeney's bill at the cementary with several fundraisers.
The first will be held March 10, 2007 at ZCBJ Hall in Bannister.
IT's a chicken and ham dinner from 5:30-7:30. It costs $8/single or $15/couple and kids are $5. They'll be a dance following until midnight.
Texas Hold 'Em Tournament will be held on March 11 at the Elsie American Legion Hall. The tournament will start at 1 pm. Call Pete Taylor at 989-834-5351 for details.
Contributions can be made directly with a check to "Heeney Benefit" to Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 278, Elsie, MI 48831.