GIVING BACK: New foundation to honor Greene County student on anniversary of his death

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) A Greeneville family is turning the loss of their son into something to help kids just like him in rural school systems in the Tri-Cities region.

Blaine Banther died following a tragic accident on July 8, 2017.

“I struggled with Blaine’s death, I still do everyday. I have not made it a day that I have not cried,” says Blaine’s mother, Jen Gray.

Two years after his death, his family is continuing to give back to the community in his memory.

“I asked God, what do you want from me? His message was clear. Get up, get out, give back,” Jen says.

They also have a big announcement to make.

Moving forward, all work done in Blaine’s name for Greene County schools and the surrounding community will be done under the new non-profit to be named the “BHP Foundation.”

After his death, Blaine’s family started a vocational scholarship at South Greene High School in Blaine’s name, which has now helped five students get their degree, or set down the path to do so.

But, what started as scholarships grew into something much more.

Blaine’s family partakes in numerous outreaches across Greene County, focusing on helping the school system, which they say is underfunded, a product of being in a large, rural county.

Some of those outreaches that will now fall under the BHP Foundation include paying for school lunches for underprivileged children and starting service projects to help kids reach their service hour requirement for Tennessee Promise.

“Giving back to those kids has been an absolute blessing. The kids have blessed me beyond any way I could describe,” says Jen.

Blaine’s father believes expanding their reach is exactly what he would have wanted.

“It’s just a continuation of him. This is exactly what he would have done. He would give the shirt off his back to anybody,” says BJ Gray.

To date Blaine’s family has donated 23 thousand dollars to the Greene County school system, 10 thousand dollars of that in the form of five scholarships.

The family will make their announcement about the BHP Foundation at a balloon release in Blaine’s memory happening July 8, at 3 p.m. at Bachman-Bernard Chevy in Greeneville.

The entire community is invited to come out and remember Blaine on the anniversary of his death.

The foundation will take full effect on September 10th, Blaine’s birthday.

Any donations to go to the BHP Foundation can be sent through PayPal.

UPDATE: After some community concern, Blaine’s mother Jen Gray wanted to clarify to News Channel 11 that the balloons released at today’s memorial are biodegradable and have no strings.

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