Donations pour in to GoFundMe page for victim of hatchet attack - WSMV News 4

Donations pour in to GoFundMe page for victim of hatchet attack

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Joel Paavola was killed inside the gym he owned and operated. (Source: GoFundMe) Joel Paavola was killed inside the gym he owned and operated. (Source: GoFundMe)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The past 24 hours have seen a huge outpouring from hundreds of people who want to help the family of Joel Paavola.

Paavola, the owner of Balance Training in Belle Meade, was attacked in the early morning hours on Monday while working with two clients at his gym.

Metro Police identified the attacker as Domenic Micheli, a former employee at the gym.

A police spokesperson says Micheli used a hatchet in one hand and another sharp bladed weapon in the other hand, striking Paavola a number of times.

Paavola died while being transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The past 24 hours have seen a huge outpouring on a GoFundMe page from hundreds of people who want to help Paavola's family.

The goal was originally set at $75,000, however, that was easily surpassed and has grown to $143,000 in just one day.

Besides the financial support, hundreds of people are also wrapping their arms around the Paavola family with words of encouragement.

"We are all surrounding you and your five with love, prayers, and help, just as you have done for so many," wrote one person.

"Our world is darker today without Joel’s beautiful spirit, he inspired us all to be better," wrote another person.

Tyson Ford, a family friend, started the GoFundMe page hours after Joel's death.

"All the comments that are coming through, all the people, show the impact he has had on their lives," said Ford.

The fact that the account has grown so rapidly in such a short period of time doesn't surprise Ford.

"$1.50 up to a $5,000 donation are coming in and it's really just hours,” said Ford. “It’s a testament to the kind of person he was.”

Ford says Paavola went beyond being a trainer to his clients, he was more of a life coach, It extended to anyone he met, and it made a lasting impression.

"That strength and will to move past obstacles, will always be there, you can pull it out, he's there, he'll always be there, he'll always be pulling you toward something better", said Ford.

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