Fund to aid storm victim’s childrenWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Family and friends of Chris Zimmerman are rallying to raise money for his children, who sadly saw too much of the tragedy that killed their father.
On July 5, Chris went on a seemingly routine task: to roll up his car windows before a fast-moving storm saturated the inside of his Ford Expedition. In an instant, a huge tree crashed onto the roof of his car, breaking his neck.
His children, Seth, 7, and Tawny, 4, came outside and started screaming.
While neighbors called 911 and took the children from the horrific scene, the family gathered outside of the house where Chris, 35, was living with his father on Dorcas Road in Springfield Township. His father, David, was not home at the time of the storm.
“Everything was so sudden. We got a call that Chris was trapped in his car because a tree had fallen, but we didn’t know how severe it was,” said his sister-in-law Christina Zimmerman. “It happened around 3 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at 4 p.m., although they weren’t able to get him out of the car for some time because of power lines.”
On top of the grief, Chris’ family immediately started worrying about paying for the funeral and providing for his children, who will now live full time with his wife, Kendra, from whom he was separated.
“Chris was recently laid off and he didn’t have any insurance or funds,” Christina said. “The family has nothing. They were struggling before he was laid off.”
The family set up an account in Chris’ name at KeyBank. The money will go toward funeral expenses and then to benefit Seth and Tawny.
Fortunately, Christina and her husband Troy had just seen Chris during a get-together on the Fourth of July. He played with their daughter, Cadence.
“It was a really good day,” she said. “Lately, Chris seemed like he was getting more peace in his life, he had a better attitude and was kind of making amends with people.”
Family and friends have been meeting near the tree stump, which has become a makeshift memorial.
“One of the great things about this neighborhood is the beautiful old trees, and the random storm knocked down so many … and then we lost Chris,” Christina said.
One solace has been the support of the community. Since Chris’ death, a car wash and T-shirt sale have generated money for the memorial account, but his family still needs more help, especially the children.
“They are OK and then they aren’t. They are asking about Dad,” Christina said.
To help his children, donate money in Chris Zimmerman’s name at any KeyBank or send a check to Christina Zimmerman in her name at 331 Shrewsbury St., Holland, OH 43528.