Southern Indiana elementary school students raise money for cust - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Southern Indiana elementary school students raise money for custodian after his open-heart surgery

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Mike McKinley Mike McKinley

FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. (WDRB) -- Second graders Kendall Catlett, Asher Ogle, Blake Schuler and their Floyd Knobs Elementary School classmates got to represent their favorite team, brand, or color Friday. 

A lot of schools have "wear you baseball hat to class day," but this was different. The hat was a symbol to honor their custodian there, "Mr. Mike." 

"He's really nice to clean up our school," Kendall said.

Mike McKinley is the same man and artist who painted that larger-than-life bat outside the Louisville Slugger Museum. Now he's recovering from going under the knife.

"We kind of just knew that there was an emergency happening," said PTO President Misty Warren Ronau. "It was during our school science fair. He collapsed."

Doctors stabilized McKinley and determined open-heart surgery would be a must.

"Nobody expected it," Blake said. "It was pretty sad."

Teachers and students knew, though, that a new pain would be coming for McKinley and his wife in the form of medical bills. 

"They are workers who don't get benefits like sick pay," Ronau said.

They all put their heads together and started a GoFundMe page.

"They set the original amount at $3,000, mostly because they didn't know what to set it at," Ronau said.

It was surpassed in almost no time. And in class Friday, as the hats went on, more money came out of pockets. The goal now has nearly doubled. 

It won't be all McKinley will need, but the students and their teachers aren't done yet. You can donate to the GoFundMe page here.

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