The small town of Leaf River is coming together to support a family of firefighters after one of them is killed in a blaze that destroyed the family’s home.
“They’ve lost everything including a son. Which is… Unreal.” said family friend Bambi Hinkle.
The Woods’ lives changed forever early Friday morning, when a massive blaze engulfed their home. 19-year-old volunteer firefighter Gregory Wood was killed. His father and brother, also part of the Leaf River department, were seriously injured. The residents of the small town say they are standing beside the family now during this difficult time.
“Our community has come together tremendously for this family,” said Hinkle. “I’m gonna start crying… I’m proud to be a part of this community.”
Hinkle is helping collect donations for the family. Also joining in the relief efforts are the Forest City Riders, a motorcycle club that hosts an event in Leaf River annually. The event was scheduled for the days following the fatal fire — and usually raises money for the fire department.The group says when they heard about the death of Gregory’s death, they wanted to expand their donation.
“The community has always supported us and let us have this,”” said Forest City Riders member Ryan Moss. “So, we got a word the fire happened and we thought we want to raise money to support them.”
Moss adds the event brings in participants from all over the Midwest.The 200 riders have already raised hundreds of dollars for the family Saturday night at their first event. “We just announced, ‘Hey, the fire department had an incident and lost one of their members and if you want to donate it we would appreciate it.’ Like I said, they helped us for years. We just told all the riders and they just started donating.”
The Leaf River Community Closet and Leaf River Fire Station are drop off location sites for material donations. For monetary donations, a memorial fund at German American State Bank in German Valley has been created.
“Please donate if you can…they lost a son,” said Hinkle.