PONTOTOC COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - People in Pontotoc County are raising money to help their neighbors to the north after a tragic bus accident on Friday killed three people, including one student, and injured several others.
Allen resident Brooks Palmer, who has an 11-year-old granddaughter, said the deadly bus crash in Seminole County Friday night hit close to home.
"Your heart just breaks for the family," Palmer said.
That's why residents in Pontotoc County are gathering items for a benefit auction and dinner on Friday to help the family of 12-year-old Rhindi Isaacs, who was killed, and the five other junior high softball players injured in the crash.
Palmer donated a chainsaw to the benefit auction from his small engine business.
"So by us giving up a few things, hopefully, it will offset or help offset the financial burden that's been put on this family," Palmer said.
Event organizer Michael Bailey said his original intent was to feed no more than 100 people and auction about 20 donated items.
He now has a list of more than 200 auction items worth thousands of dollars, given by people as far away as Montana.
Items include concert tickets, autographed OU memorabilia and construction services.
Several hundred people also plan to come to the dinner on Friday to support the Konawa community.
"These people are giving what they've got," Bailey said. "They're not rich people. It's all about their heart. That's just it in a nutshell. That's the way it is."
Palmer, who has seen many heartbreaking events while living in Oklahoma, said he is thankful to be in a community that helps each other.
"It's the Oklahoma way," Palmer said. "It's God's way. We're pleased to be a part of it."
Bailey said he knows the money raised can't change what happened, but hopes it will ease the financial burden for the grieving Konawa families.
"I just hope it helps them get over the hump," Bailey said. "I know it won't take it away, but it'll lighten the burden. That's our whole hope."
The fish and barbecue dinner and auction at the Allen school cafeteria is Fri. March 15 at 6 p.m.
There will also be live music in the auditorium.
There's no cost per plate but donations are encouraged. Bailey guarantees that everyone will be fed no matter how many people show up.