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Community rallies for fire victims
Bryan County Acting Fire Chief Otis Willis hands out pens and cards Saturday for residents to write notes to the Beasley/Newman family during a fundraiser held for them in Pembroke. - photo by Crissie Elric

Area residents rallied together Saturday in Dubois Square in Pembroke to help raise money for an Ellabell family who recently lost everything in a fire.
The fundraiser was held to benefit the Beasley and Newman family. Their Pine Needle Drive home burned after a space heater caught fire, killing Gavin Dale Newman, 3, and his brother, Randal “Ivan” Newman III, 4.
Three other family members, Crystal Beasley, 23, Randal Newman Jr., 33, and Aden Wells, 6, survived the blaze, but all suffered heavy smoke inhalation and burns. They are still being treated for third-degree burns at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, according to Phyllis Tyre, a relative of the family.
While event organizer Celeste Morris, who said the event came together in less than a week, started the project with no goal in mind, she was pleased with the $3,000 that was raised at the event.
“I’m really happy with the amount we were able to raise, and I was pleased with the support the family received from the community,” Morris said Monday.
Morris, who has never met the family, said she wanted to do something for the family after learning of the tragic events.
“I woke up that morning and saw it on the news and it just got me,” she said.
After posting event details on Facebook, Morris said she received calls not just from surrounding towns like Bloomingdale and Rincon, but also from other states, including Illinois, Texas and Florida. Morris said she even received a call from someone in Australia who offered to help.
Morris said she received donations from Coca Cola, Claxton Poultry, Harvey’s, Roger Wood, Alco, Piggly Wiggly, numerous churches and many others.
“All ages have helped — from children to senior citizens have helped with this event,” she said. “One lady baked all night long because we were low on baked goods.”
She added she was very thankful to everyone who helped with the event.
“Thank you to everybody — the whole community donated their time and it’s overwhelming. We don’t know how to thank them,” she said.
Tyre said all proceeds from the event will go toward helping the family with medical, clothing and housing expenses. She noted other donations had already helped cover the costs of both children’s funerals, “which was a blessing,” she said.

Read more in the Nov. 21 edition of the News.

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