Truckers line road in show of solidarity with Oxford community
Upwards of 70 trucks from gravel haulers to utility vehicles lined both sides of the road into Seymour Lake Park in Oxford Township on Saturday, their lights flashing in a display of solidarity following the last week's tragic shooting at Oxford High School.
Hundreds of people braved the day's cold, gusty weather to view the trucks and raise funds for victims of the Nov. 30 shooting that killed four students and injured six others including a teacher.
Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore, faces murder, terrorism and other charges that could bring up to life in prison. His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, have been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. Each charge carries the penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Andy O'Bryan, owner of CNV Enterprises, a gravel trucking company based in South Rockwood near Monroe, organized the event along with his buddy Adam Fodor, an Oxford area truck driver.
O'Bryan said he was deeply moved by the deaths of the Oxford students, because his own daughter, Kaitlyn Varney, 16, died in a car crash in 2009.
"I wanted to reach out, and a buddy of mine lives in this area, so I called him," O'Bryan said. "We put something together, and in three or four days it went from nothing to this.
"It's everything from tow trucks to service trucks to gravel trucks to pick up trucks."
In addition to the trucks, local businesses donated prizes like power tools and gift baskets, along with services from massages to horse back riding lessons, and gift certificates to area restaurants and watering holes, to raise money for a fund that's been established to help families recover.
Those killed in the shooting were: 14-year old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year old Madisyn Baldwin, 16-year old Tate Myre and Justin Shilling, 17.
"We're taking donations, 50-50 raffles, silent raffles, any kind of raffle donation we can do," O'Bryon said.
Don and Paige Kern of Almont, North of Romeo in Lapeer County, viewed the festivities with their 3-year-old Lium, while 6-year-old Emerson stayed warm sleeping in her stroller.
Don Kern is logistics manager at Dani's Transport which had five gravel train trucks and a low boy truck on display. Paige Kern's niece is a freshman at Oxford High School, and was there during the shooting.
"The whole community coming together helps," she said, when asked how her niece is recovering from the trauma.
Asked why she braved the weather to turn out, Gina Pike of Davison said, "I'm a teacher, so my heart goes out to all the teachers, and all the kiddos."
"It's been a rough few weeks," she said.