Friends of Kacey Picou, who unexpectedly lost her husband during a recent beach visit, said there has been an outpouring of support of Ms. Picou, who is the administrative assistant to Sheriff Jim Hammond.
The goal for a GoFundMe campaign has been increased.
Penny Hughey said, "Our original goal was $5,000 because honestly we just didn't know what to expect. The outpouring of love for Kacey has been tremendous and we want to keep that going so I have updated to a new goal of $10,000.
"Truly, Kacey has been overwhelmed with emotion with all the contributions and positive thoughtful comments - Thank you to everyone for every single donation - each dollar given will make her coping with this tragedy and adjusting to life without Micheal just a little bit easier and all of us who knew #TeamPicou are grateful to you for your support.
Ms. Hughey said, "Kacey and Michael Picou met way back in 1991 and were married in 1994 and have been inseparable ever since. Most everyone who knows them knows them not as individuals but as the inseparable unit of 'Michael & Kacey.'
"Both were born and raised in Louisiana, but moved to Chattanooga in 2000 and have called it home ever since. They love Chattanooga with all their heart and are known for being highly involved in their community and doing anything they can to support it by volunteering through the Greater Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations.
"Michael and Kacey made their first trip to the Gulf Coast in 2016 and have been vacationing in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area ever since. One of their favorite annual traditions was to come down the week of Thanksgiving - they had no idea that this year's visit would be their last as a couple. They spent the first part of the week visiting with local friends, enjoying dining on local seafood cuisine, catching a couple of movies, visiting the Gulf Coast Zoo and playing with the lemurs.
"On Wednesday, Nov. 27, it was an unusually warm day with temperatures reaching close to 80 degrees and Michael decided to enjoy the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Kacey was watching from the beach as he frolicked in the surf - but something went wrong and Michael went down. By the time he was brought up on the beach his lungs were filled with water and he was unconscious and unfortunately never to awake again.
"As you can imagine, Kacey is devastated; she has lost the love of her life and someone she has relied on since she was a teenager. Without Michael by her side, Kacey faces an uncertain future. Many people who loved Michael and who also love Kacey have asked what they can do to help - and that’s why we have set up the page requesting donations.
"Many expenses lie ahead for Kacey and it is going to be difficult transitioning from a dual income household to a one income household. Let’s help Kacey have a bit of a cushion so that at least for a few months, she can concentrate on healing from the tragic loss of her lifetime love and not have to worry about making ends meet.
"There will not be a funeral - but rather a celebration of life for Michael coming soon at one of his favorite local Chattanooga places - Cadence Coffee Company. We will gather as friends, drink their amazing chai tea (Michael's favorite) and laugh and smile about all the ways Michael had a positive influence on each of us.
"I never knew him not to be smiling. Rather than sending cards and flowers, please leave a message for Kacey here and offer a contribution to her - no matter how small it all adds up. Thank you for your support of our dear friend Kacey - it’s not going to be easy for her, but hopefully we can relieve at least some of her burden."
GoFundMe: Let’s show Kacey some love!