Church bus crash victims raising money for new bus

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The victims of last month’s deadly church bus crash are moving forward with their lives, in a most inspirational way.

The July 27 crash killed Colonial Hills Baptist youth pastor Chad Phelps, his wife Courtney Phelps and their unborn child. A church member, Tonya Weindorf, was also killed in the accident at Keystone Avenue and I-465. The bus was driving a large group of teenagers and young adults, who were returning to Indianapolis from a church retreat in Michigan.

“We felt like we needed to do something in order to keep the legacy of Chad, Courtney and Mrs. Weindorf going,” said Kylee Leffew, 15, who recently gathered with her friends to figure out how to raise money for a new church bus.

“I think it was my younger sister who said, ‘why don’t we do wristbands?'” Leffew said. “I’m like, that’d be a cool idea.”

“I came downstairs and they were on the computer and asked for my credit card,” said Leffew’s father, Jeff, a deacon at the church. Jeff obliged after the kids told them of their plan, letting them order hundreds of orange wristbands.

“Before we even put the order in people were already wanting more,” said Stephen Davenport, 16, who was recently released from the hospital.

“It just exploded,” Kylee said. “We had so many orders coming in.”

At $1 per bracelet, they’ve already sold some 1,800 wristbands to people all across the country -and even to some customers in Costa Rica and Panama.

“We’re going to have to sell a lot of wristbands for a buck,” said Jeff Leffew. “We have a lot of people giving us $5, $10 or $20 for one wristband because they understand the purpose.”

“Pastor Chad and Courtney wouldn’t want us to be fearful of getting on a bus and continuing to go to camps and mission trips,” Kylee said. “So we just felt that once we sold these bracelets, we would raise money for a new bus.”

“The main purpose of it is to spread the gospel,” said Davenport. “We can take Chad, Courtney and Mrs. Weindorf’s legacy, pick up the flag, and carry it on.”

“At first we just thought it’d be an awesome idea,” said Kylee. “We never really thought it would go this big, but this is something Pastor Chad and Courtney would want us to do.”

For more information on the wristbands, click here to visit the youth group’s web site: