Community support rises in wake of tragedy
It has happened so many times before, after so many untimely deaths.
When tragedy strikes in western Washington County, people respond with notes of comfort, meals, spontaneous Love Rocks deliveries and money.
This week, as news spreads about the nightmare Donnita and Dan Cadd and their family are experiencing, friends and even strangers will be reaching out. Longtime Forest Grove residents, the Cadds lost their youngest daughter, Samantha, who was only 14, in a car accident last Wednesday. Their 18-year-old daughter, Stephanie, remains in the hospital with multiple serious injuries following the crash south of Gaston.
Stephanie, a talented dancer with dreams of performing professionally, will recover from her physical trauma. But it will be a long road for her to process the emotional impact of the loss of her sibling.
The whole family will forever miss Sam, who friends say had an infectious laugh and loved to sing and play video games online.
We have no doubt community members will be there to support Stephanie, Dan, Donnita and the older Cadd sisters, Amie and Jessica.
How do we know? Because the power of love and joy has been emanating from the 2013 deaths of two other local sisters, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigail Robinson, and their parents, who responded to that tragedy by honoring their daughters' spirits. Love and joy have faced down a grim string of deaths among other local youth since then and will once again try to buoy this new grief-stricken family and our hurting community.
Already, Forest Grove Dance Arts has started a fundraiser to help pay for Samie's funeral expenses and Stephanie's medical expenses. Another fund at the Forest Grove branch of US Bank is taking donations for the family. Owners of the Yamhill bakery where Stephanie recently landed a job, Bella Luna Gluten Free Patisserie, have offered to make gluten-free meals for the Cadds.
Susan Dieter-Robinson, mother of Anna and Abby, has offered to meet with Donnita and Dan to do what she can to encourage them and assuage their pain.
Many unnamed other people are praying for the Cadd family, to be sure, but also for Jill Yoder, the Hillsboro woman who hit the Cadd girls' car after it skidded into her path along Highway 47. Jill is recovering from her injuries at OHSU.
Then there's the person who police say started the chain-reaction accident in the first place by crossing the median line and forcing Stephanie Cadd to swerve.
No matter what happens at the other end of a police investigation into this awful event, that driver, Andrea Ausmus of Yamhill, needs the community's prayers, too.