ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – The tragic death of Tara and Gerald Weaver last Friday in a sudden car crash while en route to an Escanaba Basketball game has impacted the community as well as the High school where 2 of their surviving children still attend. This a story of healing, empathy, and generosity.

The town of Escanaba is grieving… and from that grief, the community has banded together in every conceivable way to help the Weaver Family through this unbelievably tragic time. Escanaba public schools are taking steps to recognize this grief and are helping students work through it together. Escanaba High School Principal Darci Stenfors is grateful for the protocols already in place to help students and staff cope with such a loss.

“Many students are affected because they have their own personal experiences that they’re reflecting from.” Said Stenfors. “And so, by having our counselors on staff therapy dogs, extra supports in place. Yesterday we had a webinar with a grief counselor for community adults to help their child you know that may be struggling with grief. These types of protocols are in place so that we can help our students through those struggling times.

Principal Stenfors also points out that some students have trouble understanding something so unfamiliar, as grief.”

“They’re confused you know, they’re unsure of where their place is in the grief process with the family,” Stenfors said. “I’ve had students come in that are you know, should I go to their house should I What should I How should I talk to them? What can I do for them? And so there they are. This is a new process for them. They’re unsure of how to proceed in making the student be able to come back into normal life and you know, be at ease and so there’s a lot of confusion among students when they’re unsure of how to handle grief.”

 Escanaba Jr. and Sr. High School social worker Leann Bink explains how empathy allows every student to relate to this tragedy in their own way…even if they didn’t personally know Mr. and Mrs. Weaver.”

“Even though we have many, many students here who knew the weaver family and are grieving about that.” Bink pointed out. “There are also the students out there that didn’t know them, but they’re grieving as well. Because they can imagine what that might feel like if that were to happen to them.” 

Bink goes on to explain, after a tragedy like this, how it’s normal to be a little more protective, a little more fearful, and a little more grateful for those we love.

“I think it makes us realize that this could happen to any one of us.” Said, Bink. “And so, we do love a little more, hug a little more, and just show that gratitude for our family members.”

The outpouring of support for the Weaver kids goes well beyond the school doors. This tragic accident has galvanized the entire region in support and caring for the Weavers. Principal Stenfors is proud of her community.

“To see what they’ve done and how quickly they’ve rallied behind the family. The outpouring of kindness and compassion is just immeasurable.” Said Stenforth.

 Over 130 businesses, schools, and organizations have come together to help the Weaver Family through this tragic time. From Ironwood to downstate Mio, the heartfelt support for this family is clearly evident. From Bake sales and community meals to donating a portion of the till. Those affected by this loss were ready to help almost immediately, and their generosity appears to be limitless.