Turlock City News

Turlock City News

Community Gives $10,000 to Replace Stolen THS Ag Equipment


Rack up a massive win in Turlock for the good guys!

Within just a matter of days, the Turlock community has raised nearly $10,000 to help replace equipment stolen from Turlock High School’s Ag Department, which has been hit by theft three times this school year.

The most recent theft occurred over the Thanksgiving break, when thieves stole $5,000 worth of small engines. The theft threatened the future of a small engine introductory course at THS. Over the Thanksgiving break Ag students and teachers worked to build a security fence to dissuade future thefts.

The Turlock Fire Local 2434, through its Random Acts of Kindness program, donated $3,000 to the THS Ag Department. According to Capt. Frank Saldivar, the firefighters learned of the need from an article on TurlockCityNews.com, and in short order decided to make the donation.

“We budgeted $2,500 for the school district and when we came across this we thought it was perfect to donate to, plus we decided to throw in another $500. They’ve had some things stolen in the past and then with the latest theft we knew there was a need for help,” said Saldivar.

Aimee Russell, the sister of much-heralded THS Ag Department Chair Chad Russell, also created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the Turlock High School Ag Department. In just three days 17 donors contributed $1,290 toward the $5,000 fundraising goal. According to TurlockCityNews.com statistics, 107 readers clicked on the link to GoFundMe from TurlockCityNews.com.

In addition, $5,300 was donated by way of checks from parents of THS students and others who heard about the story via social media. Aimee Russell said that several items of equipment have been donated so far as well.

“I am in disbelief! I started the fundraiser only expecting to raise a little money to help my brother Chad and the students out. I never expected the outpouring of support we got! Thank you for all your help,” said Aimee Russell. “We are overwhelmed with the community's generosity!”

THS Principal Marie Peterson was grateful to learn of the outpouring of support from the community.

“On behalf of the District, THS, and our Ag Department we would like to
thank the community for their outpouring of support after our most recent break-in,” Peterson said. “In addition to monetary donations we have been contacted by many folks who have donated engines to help rebuild our inventory for the Small Engines class. It really is a testament to the respect our community has for the THS Ag program and its instructors that in such a short amount of time so many people have donated so generously especially during the holiday season. We are especially thankful for the hard work of our Ag students and Chad Russell, our Department Chair, who devoted much of their Thanksgiving vacation to building a fence that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional to secure this area. Our long-term goal is fabricate a fence around the entire perimeter of the Ag Department which will, hopefully, take this area off the map completely as a target for thieves.”

To contribute, visit www.gofundme.com/5j0fpk.

If anyone has information on the theft call Turlock police at (209) 668-5550, or THS at (209) 667-2055. Anonymous tips can be left by calling Crime Stoppers, 1-866-60-CRIME.

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