By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN Three students from Delano Middle School recently joined forces to help the family of Ricky Cummings.
Cummings died Sept. 17 when he was electrocuted after coming in contact with a high voltage electricity line at the Xcel Energy nuclear generating plant in Monticello, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.
The cause of death was thermal injuries due to the electrocution, and was accidental according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Cummings was at the site as a contract worker of an equipment rental company, according to Xcel Energy.
When sixth grade students Allison Schoepke, Julia Schansberg, and Maggie Marcus heard about this tragedy, they immediately thought of their fellow classmate, Cole Cummings, who is Ricky’s son.
“We felt so bad for him,” said Schansberg. “He lost his dad. We tried to put ourselves in his shoes and wanted to help him and his family.”
First, they put their plan together, and then they approached Delano Middle School Principal Rene Klinkner with their ideas and she supported their efforts.
They decorated 26 large cans from the school kitchen, and called their fundraiser, “Coins for Cummings.”
The cans were placed in the middle school office and in each classroom. The students even asked friends and neighbors for donations, as well.
Enlisting the help of Anna Vanbuesekom, Claire Kozub, and Sydney Farniok, the group was able to reach many area homes.
“Our goal was to reach $1,000,” said Maggie Marcus. At the time this article was written, they had already surpassed this goal.
Ricky and Tina Cummings have four children Ricky, Courtney, Cora, and Cole, all who attend Delano Public Schools.
“Mrs. Cummings (Tina) works at the school,” said Allison Schoepke. “She’s been our Sunday school teacher at Light of Christ Church, too. We hope this helps if just a little.”