North side church honors bus crash victims with fundraiser

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Members of Colonial Hills Baptist Church are raising money for a new bus, following last month's deadly crash involving their charter bus on the north side of Indianapolis.

The fundraiser, created by the church's youth group, is also meant to inspire and honor lives lost.

"Chad Phelps was one of my best friends, actually," said youth group member Stephen Davenport.

"They were such good examples to all of us," added member Kylee Leffew.

To share the legacy of their youth leader and be sure his mission lives on, members of the Colonial Hills Baptist Youth Group are raising awareness and raising money, one wristband at a time.

"The generosity from the community and people even from all over the world, just giving in donations, is just such a blessing to all of us," Leffew said.

The orange wristbands include the names of lives lost in a bus accident on Keystone Avenue: parent Tonya Weindorf, Youth Pastor Chad Phelps, his wife Courtney Phelps and their unborn baby.

They were killed July 27 when their charter bus, headed back from church camp in Michigan, flipped near the ramp of I-465.

"To have it on a bracelet is just a reminder that even thought they're gone physically, they're not gone spiritually and that they're always there and it's always just a reminder to be praying for the families," Leffew explained.

Students are trying to raise money for a new church bus, so kids can continue to go to camp and other mission trips. Each wristband is one dollar and are available online.

In just three weeks, they've sold more than 4,000 and raised $5,000.

"We've gotten much more than a dollar per wristband," Davenport said. "I know one friend told me that he sold one wristband to someone and he gave him $100 for the one wristband and said keep the rest as a donation."

Kids say the fundraiser has encouraged them through this tragedy and kept them focused not on loss of life, but on sharing their faith.

"It's our focus to pick up Chad and Courtney and Mrs. Weindorf and just carry it on," Davenport said.

Youth Edge Indy website