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Community helps family after tragedy

Just days after a Russellville family suffers a dual tragedy, their community is coming together to help them.

The Gilpin’s house caught on fire last week. While on the way to the blaze, a family member, Anthony Gilpin, was killed in a car crash.

Fire officials have since declared the home a total loss.

Now, an accidental collection of sorts has been helping the family out.

People from Russellville, Jefferson City, and surrounding areas have been bring food, clothing, household items, and toiletries to Cole County R-1 School, where the Gilpin grandsons attend.

The principal, Elaine Buschjost, told ABC 17 News she didn’t originally intend to start a fundraiser.

“So many people have called and asked where to take money, what do they need, where can I help?” Buschjost said. “So we felt it was our role to organize.”

They’ve been putting the items in a room at the school for the family, and set up a fund at Community Point Bank in Russellville for people to donate monetarily.

“The family is overwhelmed and grieving so we’re doing our best to support them,” Buschjost said. “You can’t take the pain away of losing a child or your home, much less in the same day, but you can make the practical parts of life easier to deal with.”

Buschjost said the reaction from the community has been inspirational. Even Red Cross executives who see tragedy frequently agreed.

“I think the amazing story with this whole thing is the way the Russellville community embraced this family,” executive director Dave Griffith said. “That’s the real blessing to live in central Missouri: that we’ve got people who care about their neighbors and that’s certainly the case with the Gilpin family.”

To donate, bring items to Cole County R-1 School or money to Community Point Bank, both in Russellville.

Anthony Gilpin’s visitation will be from 12-2 p.m. at Scrivner-Morrow Funeral Home this Wednesday. The funeral will follow at 2 p.m. at the Russellville Baptist Church.

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