When Gidieon Cook tragically passed away on June 10, 2019 at only 8 years old, the outpouring of love and support from the Kosciusko County community was a lifeline for his mother, Keri Cook. It was this overwhelming support that inspired her to find a way to give back to the community. By creating the Gidieon Orion Cook Memorial Fund, Keri can give back to the community that has supported her family since Gidieon’s passing, while also ensuring that Gidieon’s name will never be forgotten.
Gidieon is lovingly remembered by his family and friends as a light spirited and easy-going little boy who liked to play and have fun. He was all boy; he loved going on adventures, playing with bugs and frogs along the way, and riding his dirt bike. He loved school – recess was his favorite – and had just finished the 2nd grade at Harrison Elementary. Although he could be shy at first, he loved making friends, especially through the YMCA and his church. Some of his favorite pastimes included playing with his sisters, visiting his family every week in the summer at North Webster lake to go swimming, boating, and tubing, and of course snuggling with his mom.
In addition to the prayers and financial support Keri and her family received, the community also has established ways to ensure Gidieon’s memory is honored and remembered. New Life Christian Church, where Gidieon was an energetic member and participant in the youth activities, is saving a portion of the offerings collected at Vacation Bible School to be able to award a scholarship in Gidieon’s name to a student in the year Gidieon would have graduated high school. Keri’s employer, Zimmer Biomet, partnered with United Way of Kosciusko County to give back to Harrison Elementary. Two benches at Harrison Elementary have also been dedicated in Gidieon’s name. Additionally, Gidieon’s passing has sparked Harrison Elementary to start an art memorial in honor of students who pass away.
As a Community Fund, the Gidieon Orion Cook Memorial Fund will help the Kosciusko County Community Foundation respond to the changing needs in our county. Community Funds make grants to support programs that provide services and resources to low-income families, provide arts and cultural experiences in our area, support victims of domestic violence, nonprofit child care programs, trails and recreational projects, and so much more. A fitting memorial for a life that ended much too soon.