A Belington resident has offered to help West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot Jonathan Kimble pay a fine he incurred by killing a bear while not wearing blaze orange.
Kimble has been criticized for wearing his uniform while hunting and using his mascot musket to shoot the black bear Dec. 3. He faces a fine and court costs for not wearing the required 400 square inches of a high-visibility color for safety reasons.
Matt Ryan, an employee of Ryan's Repair Service in Belington, posted a request on Facebook Wednesday, asking if any of his friends know Kimble. His post said, "If anyone personally knows the Mountaineer... rumor has it he has been fined over the bear kill. I want to offer to help pay his fines."
Ryan, who is an avid outdoorsman, said he wanted to support Kimble.
"I do not know Jonathan Kimble or his situation, but I want to lend a hand," Ryan said. "I offered to help from my own pocket, but when people saw my Facebook post, others offered to help as well. We all need to stick together."
Ryan said he feels the authorities took the wrong route in fining Kimble.
"Kimble and the Mountaineer mascot are role models for all West Virginians," Ryan said. "What the authorities should have done was have Kimble go to hunter education meetings and use this to educate others. It should be a learning experience, not fining this boy."
Ryan said if Kimble does not need help with the fines, he can use the money to help get the bear mounted.
"We know Kimble should have been wearing orange while hunting, but we want him to know we still stand behind him," Ryan said.