Dollars for Dahlem
According to a group of University of Florida students, they found the perfect way to honor the man they describe as a mentor.
"It beats flowers, and it beats us just saying we're sorry," U.F. Student Government's Jason Lutin said. "We wanted to do something for the guy who helped us out as students and kept us safe."
So the U.F. Student Government decided to collect donations. Lutin's original goal was $10,000, which would go to the benevolent fund established for Dahlem's children. Then he realized the Gators had just won their second NCAA championship and a rally was scheduled for Friday, so he made arrangements to set-up donation tables at each of the three gates open at the O'Connell Center during the rally.
"One dollar from 50,000 people, that's an exorbitant amount of money," Lutin said. "That can really help out."
Lutin recalled many students coming up to him after the tragic incident and telling him they did not recognize Dahlem's name, but as soon as they saw his picture, they knew Dahlem immediately. U.F. Student Government representatives will not be alone at the tables; they will be joined by members of other student organizations and the Gainesville Police Department.
"We're excited that they would even offer," Officer Jeff McAdams said. "I think it's a good gesture on our part to go out there and partner with them and work with them in an off-duty capacity."
According to McAdams, the students' enthusiasm in coordinating this gesture shows how well Dahlem was able to interact with community around him.
"A lot of these kids knew Lt. Dahlem, and they want to reach out and help," he said. "They feel like he was a part of their family as well, and I think that speaks volumes."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV 20 News
WCJB, TV20 News
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