ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – In the wake of a fatal car crash that killed an Escanaba couple, the Escanaba Area Public Schools superintendent is praising the outpouring of support shown by Yoopers across the entire Upper Peninsula, from as far west as Ironwood to Sault Ste. Marie in the east.
Jerry and Tara Weaver were killed in a crash on the way to their son’s basketball game on Jan. 27, leaving behind their three children, Noah, Lukas, and Sophia. Since then, nearly $150,000 has been collected for the children through a GoFundMe page, and thousands more through fundraisers at U.P. schools, restaurants, and businesses.
EAPS Superintendent Coby Fletcher said the showing of support has been incredible to witness.
“I’ve been in places where if something similar had happened, you would not have seen everybody come together in the way that they have here, and that really has been amazing,” said Fletcher. “I have been in contact with districts downstate who’ve heard about what happened, and they tell me, ‘Hey, look, we’re doing this fundraiser at our athletic event tonight. How do we get that money to this family?’ and it’s happening all the time all over the place! So, as tragic as this is, seeing everybody come together in the way they have has been a great thing.”
Fletcher said Tara was a early childhood education specialist in the Delta-Schoolcraft ISD. She’s remembered as being dedicated to both her family and her career, and being a strong mother and educator.
There is counseling available to students and staff at EAPS. Fletcher said other mental health professionals have offered their services to the school district as well. He said because grief may not manifest right away for some adults and children, the district will keep counseling services available.
Classes are canceled at EAPS on Friday, Feb. 3 to allow staff and students to attend the Weavers’ funeral services.
A bank account has also been established under “Weaver Family” at First Bank locations. People can call any First Bank location to make a deposit into the account or mail to First Bank, 2800 Ludington St. Escanaba, MI 49829.
There are numerous other fundraising opportunities for the Weavers around the U.P. You can find an updated, ongoing list here.