BRUCETON MILLS — On Feb. 14, Tammy Bishoff lost her 15-year-old son Brayden after a car crash that occurred as the boy returned home from Preston High.
Saturday brought an outpouring in memory of Brayden and three classmates who were injured.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Bishoff. “It’s very humbling to see that our community, and bigger than just our community, has came out to help us and support the boys that were injured in the accident.”
The Boys of Bruceton Fundraiser brought hundreds from the community out to Bruceton Fire Hall to support families of the four Bruceton boys involved in the accident.
Organizer Mandi Hall originally hoped to raise $50,000 to offset medical bills incurred by the families. She has adjusted the goal to $70,000 as donations from residents and businesses poured in.
The Feb. 6 accident happened after the car the boys were in hit standing water on W.Va. 26 north at the intersection with Furfin Road. The car left the road and hit a tree.
T-shirts and bracelets with #blue4them printed on them were sold.
More than 300 lots were up for raffle. Hall said donations for prizes were still pouring in Saturday morning. About 225 small baskets, with values of less than $300, were available.
The baskets were as diverse as the people — including everything from handmade blankets to a basket with a bunch of lottery tickets in it.
WVU donated clothing and a Bob Huggins-autographed basketball.
Bishoff also made a basket with her son’s favorite snacks and items related to fishing and hunting — two of his passions.
“There’s probably going to be so many people here and so many tickets put in these things, if I win something great,” said Amy Lewis, a friend of the familes. “But if I don’t, then you know what? I know it went to a good cause and I got to help.”
Lewis said her son is friends with the four boys, and her husband coached them all in youth sports.
People were encouraged to sign up as organ donors, just as Brayden was: His kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver and eyes were transplanted.
“It makes me happy that he can live on and help other people,” Bishoff said.
People can donate directly to the families via four boxes with each family’s name on it. Christian Wilson, Christian Frazee and Cordell Miller were the other boys involved in the accident.
Food for the event was donated.
Youth from the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy helped set things up at the fire hall on Friday night and served food on Saturday.
Hall said more than 100 people volunteered for the event.