Community mourns loss
- Susan Matheny
- Madras Pioneer - Sports
>Culver residents offer outpouring support to family in time of griefGeneral Editor
The small, close community of Culver was devastated last week after learning Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Roe's wife and three children had been killed in a car-train accident while on their way to school. One child, Ethan, survived the accident.
Both Steve and his wife, Sandy, 32, were known as active community members and devoted parents, and all four of their children, Jason, 15, Tina, 14, Ethan, 10, and Devin, 6, were equally enthusiastic about the dance studio they attended, school, and sports.
Culver Mayor Dan Harnden said the reaction of the community has been "caring and supportive. We're all hurt of course and people are wanting to help out. We're jumping right in to make sure Steve's going to be O.K. with his son. That's just the way Culver is," Harnden said.
A Roe Family Memorial Fund has been set up at Columbia River Bank in Madras, and donations may be sent to the fund at P.O. Box O, Madras, OR 97741. (As of Tuesday, $ X,XXX had been donated to the fund). The family did not have life insurance.
The funeral service for the Roe family members has been set for 3 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 13, at the old gym in the Culver School Complex.
Culver City Recorder Jeri Jones, who has been helping field phone calls for the family, said flowers may be brought to the fire hall and cards and letters mailed to the fire station at P.O. Box 256, Culver, OR 97734.
After reports of the accident appeared in state and national news, Jones said she received offers from the San Francisco Fire Chief to send a crew up if the Culver fire crew needed a break to deal with grief, and the Vancouver, Wash., fire department had offered to send an honor guard to the funeral.
Jones and a close friend of the family, who did not want their name used, also commented on some of the rumors that have been circulating. Yes, an anonymous donor is helping with funeral expenses, but no one has paid off the Roe's home mortgage, or set up a college fund for Ethan as other rumors said.
Ethan suffered a fractured collar bone, fractured ankle, and a concussion in the accident, but was able to come home Dec. 6, just one day after the accident.
"Ethan and his dad are doing very well under the circumstances," the family spokesperson said. "They are staying very strong in their faith and God with his loving hand is tending to them."
In a message to the community Steve said, "Thank you to everyone who has shown their support and love for my family."
On Friday, Dec. 7, Ethan asked if he could have a few friends over and the visit went very well, the spokesperson reported.
Two of Ethan's teachers noted while little Devin was a dynamo, Ethan was the calmer, quieter one. In school he has a lot of friends, is artistic and creative and known for his drawings, and has an interest in scientific experiments.
Friends are concerned, but hope with time Ethan will be able to return to school and adjust to life without his mother, brothers and sister. Ethan is only 10 now and can't comprehend everything, so one person is making a scrapbook about his family and all that has happened that will be important for him when he is older.
The Roe's neighbor Jennifer Moe was a good friend of Sandy's. Their kids played together and they co-parented a lot.
After Ethan got home from the hospital he wanted to see the accident scene, so his dad took him out, but was concerned to see other people there.
As they drove up they were relieved to discover it was Jennifer with her two small children placing flowers at the scene.