Both Amish and English members of the Vermontville, Michigan community have come together to support the family who lost three children in a buggy accident Wednesday.
Below we’ve got comments from Amish and English locals. There’s also information if you’d like to send a card or donate money to support this family.
The good news here is that the fourth rider in the buggy – a six-year-old boy, brother of the three children killed – is in stable condition at a hospital in Lansing.
Henry Detweiler, a member of the Amish community, has lived in the area for nearly four decades. He spoke with Lansing State Journal on the community and its response.
The Amish support system is well-known. The community comes together in times of tragedy to take over chores, food and other responsibilities to lighten the burden of the mourning.
But this is new ground. Detweiler says this is the first time a tragedy of this magnitude has occurred in the community.
We learn in this piece that the settlement is now up to four church districts in size, with 120 families, and two schools. The children had just left their school prior to the accident, pictured below.
Detweiler is the community’s “funeral caretaker”. That means he helps with the services and drives the buggy which transports the casket of the deceased.
He also operates a blacksmith business. Contrary to initial reports, the children were not heading home but were on the way to his business to have their ponies reshod.
His blacksmith shop is less than three miles from the children’s school.
He says that the cart had a blinking warning light. All of the children were wearing bright safety vests.
Detweiler shares news on the six-year-old, who he says is in stable condition: “They figure he’s going to be okay.”
Another report says that the boy has leg and head injuries, but had “a good night.”
You can tell these Amish neighbors are well-appreciated, and even loved by English members of the community.
Eighty-one-year-old Jerry LaMere has been friends with Amish here for decades, and often drives them. He refuses money for his service: “I tell them I’m not in the trucking business. I’m in the friend business.”
I’d bet his Amish friends find ways to show their thanks, maybe with the always-appreciated currency of baked goods and fresh produce. LaMere says he was “devastated” by the news.
The WILX video report below has comments from two other English people in the area.
“I have no words,” says Natalie Sharpes, who also drives for the Amish. “Surreal. Unimaginable.”
A woman named Tamara says it’s “amazing that people are coming from all over to help the Amish community, because they are absolutely amazing here, they are loving, and they’re always here to support us.”
Support the Family
If you’d like to support this family, you can send cards and monetary donations to this address, which is the family’s home address (updated with the name checks should be made out to):
5185 N. Ionia Road
Vermontville, MI 49096
Money will help cover the costs of medical bills and burial costs.
They also accept food donations if you are able to drop those off locally. Those can be delivered to Precision Tools in Vermontville from 7 – 8:30 a.m. Please do not send flowers. More details here.
Food will go to feed the family, and for the attendees of the funeral.
One thousand people are expected to attend.