Smiley BBQ benefit leaves teen asking questions about proceeds


by Eric Gonzales / KENS 5

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 10:23 AM

Smiley, Texas is frowning over an issue from a benefit barbecue held for two children who lost their parents. 

The only problem is the kids say they haven’t gotten any of the money.  Now they are asking questions.

“Mostly it hurts. Because she didn’t tell anybody she was sick or nothing,” said 19-year-old Ashley Griffin. Ashley lost her mother two months ago.

“She didn’t want us to worry," said the teen.

The Smiley Volunteer Fire Department held a barbecue benefit to help out Ashley and her brother. They raised about $6,000.

But Ashley says they haven’t been given any money from that fundraiser. 

Donnie Janicek is the treasurer for the fire department. He said they have been raising money for kids in Smiley, Texas since 1994. They have also been raising money for Ashley and her 13-year-old brother since 2000.
Janicek says they have held two events, and  have raised about $5,500 for the Griffin children. He said through investments they have almost doubled that money. According to Janicek they have already given Ashley money, but she has never asked for the rest.
Ashley’s older brother is now caring for her and her 13-year-old brother and he says the money would help out with their expenses.  

“We’re not going to be able to get rich and buy a mansion off of $5,000. It doesn’t go far in 2012,” says Scottie Griffin. 

“I could get a car out of it -- a better car. My little brother would need stuff during school,” Ashley said.
Janicek says the benefits are for the kids' education, and they usually put the money into a trust that the kids get when they turn 21.  

“This trust goes to the same two kids, but there wasn’t a parent left: he said."There was no surviving parent to deal with.
"The girl has applied for money one time from the old trust. One time she asked for her money last year. And the trustees gave her the money."

According to Janicek it’s all a misunderstanding. He said if Ashley wants the rest of her money she can apply to the trustees.
Ashley says she has is going to nursing school and her tuition is already paid through financial aid She said her brother plans on joining the military and doesn’t have plans for college just yet.