Weaver family receives support across the U.P.
ESCANABA — An unexpected tragedy has brought Yoopers together once again to show support for a family in need.
Last Friday evening, Escanaba parents Tara and Jerry Weaver were killed in a car crash on U.S. 2 while driving to their son, Lukas’, basketball game. Tara and Jerry leave behind three children — Noah, Lukas and Sophia, all of whom are current and past students at Escanaba High School.
“It is a sad yet heartfelt reminder that the U.P. and our sports teams may be a bunch of small communities, but in a time of need, we are all definitely one big family,” said Escanaba sports parent and resident Dani Beauchamp on Facebook.
Since their passing, a GoFundMe page has been created on behalf of the Weaver children to help with funeral costs, food, gas, college and more. The original goal for the page was $100,000 but in just a day has raised over that amount.
By Wednesday the amount raised exceeded $156,000.
“Tara and Jerry Weaver were as true and honest as they come,” according to the GoFundMe page. “They would lend a helping hand to anyone at any time. We ask you in return, to do as they would, and graciously make a donation to help this family.”
Throughout the U.P., several businesses are donating their earnings towards the family. On Friday, all Krist Oil gas stations will donate five cents per gallon of regular unleaded gas, 87 octane, sold that day to the Weaver family.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Weaver family and Escanaba community,” said Krist Oil director of marketing, Katelyn Tessin, in a press release.
Many Michigan school districts are assisting the Weaver kids.
Gladstone High School’s girls’ Orange-Out basketball game against Negaunee dedicated a portion of the proceeds from its 50/50 raffle, concessions and all of its Miracle Minute money. The Miracle Minute is when students flood the bleachers to collect as much cash or change as they can in a five-gallon bucket in 60 seconds. $4,273 was raised.
Gladstone’s Powderpuff Volleyball charged a $3 entry fee — all of which will go to the Weavers. Additionally, its varsity cheerleaders are hosting a canned food drive for the Weavers ending Feb. 13.
The St. Ignace Saints played at Harbor Springs. The Saints dressed in black while the Rams dressed in orange. A portion of the concessions were donated to the Weaver family as well as all 50/50 proceeds and monetary donations. Altogether, they raised over $6,000.
The Pellston Hornets’ game against the Onaway Cardinals featured an Orange-Out on Tuesday. They also hosted a Miracle Minute, bake sale and silent auction. The total proceeds from each, plus donations, made about $9,000.
Munising Middle and High schools held a bake sale Monday. They raised over $1,800 and are keeping none of the profits.
Several Northeast Michigan schools including Alpena High School, Hillman High School, Posen High School and Rogers City High School have held fundraisers of their own to support the Weaver family.
As for support within the Escanaba school district, Escanaba Junior and Senior High School principal Darci Stenfors said that the hope in tragic events such as this one, is that communities draw together to support one another through their grief.
“The community events that have been rolling out since the accident have been overwhelming,” Stenfors said in an email. “The kindness and compassion being shown by school districts and communities across the state is incredible.”
Stenfors said in all her years of education, she has never witnessed an outpouring of generosity such as that shown to the Weaver family.
“This family has touched the hearts of so many, but let’s also not forget those around us who have also been touched by personal tragedy in their own families,” Stenfors said. “Our hearts go out to all who have experienced tragic loss and grief.”
Counselors and social workers are on site at the school to assist students who need support in the upcoming months. On Wednesday, a Google meet was conducted by grief counselor Gwen Kapcia to help families who would like assistance leading their children through the grief process.
“We would like to send out a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has expressed kind wishes and extended generosity toward our Eskymo family,” Stenfors said.
For a full list of ways to donate toward the family, visit online at facebook.com/dani.beauchamp.1/posts/pfbid02q8B6QM3UGJWCnTA7jHZ÷