Scholarship Launched in Memory of I-285 Plane Crash Victims

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Saturday was supposed to be their wedding day, instead it was the day fundraising officially began for a memorial scholarship for the couple killed in a plane crash on I-285.

Jackie Kulzer and Chris Byrd died May 8 along with Chris's father, Greg Byrd, and brother, Phillip Byrd. 

In partnership with their families, the University of Mississippi launched the fundraiser to create an endowment.  The money will fund a scholarship for two students each year in the School of Accountancy, of which Kulzer was an alumna. 

"When we have the people create these private scholarships that are named, it gives the student something a little more special to be awarded," explained Brooke Barnes, director of development in the School of Accountancy.  "A lot of times that's really the key in us being able to get a great student to come to our program and have you know, the same experience here that Jackie and Chris did."

Kulzer's brother, Matt Bailey, and his wife, Maggie decided a scholarship would be the perfect way to honor Kulzer and Byrd at a place they loved dearly.

"Their closest friends seemed to be from the University of Mississippi and you know, we just want to help people have a piece of that and continue to help their legacy live on into the future," explained Matt Bailey.

Maggie said she wanted to do more than just ask for donations.  That was why she decided to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans in February in Kulzer and Byrd's honor. 

"Every time I go running, I just think I'm doing this for Jackie and Chris," she revealed.  "Or when I get to a point where I want to stop, I just--I honestly think I've got to do this for Jackie and Chris and I make it up the biggest hill or keep going for the extra mile that I need to make that day."

The fundraising page will stay up through the race on February 28, 2016.  They hope to raise at least $50,000 for the endowment.  Click here to donate:

The official cause of the plane crash remains under investigation by the NTSB.