The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 8, 2013

VIDEO: Hundreds turn out for fundraiser for family

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — It was a standing-room-only affair Friday night at Carl Junction High School, as nearly 1,000 residents turned out for Jazz and Java, a fundraiser for a school district family devastated by a traffic accident Jan. 12.

Because a snowstorm Feb. 22 forced the postponement of the event and several bands to ultimately cancel out, the turnout surprised organizers of the event. Carl Junction band director Ryan Churchill said that the support from the community was overwhelming in the planning and the execution of the event.

“This has been a totally heartwarming process in organizing this,” Churchill said. “The outpouring of people wanting to help in the community, the caring ... I’m incredibly touched and proud of it.”

The event was organized to raise money for the Washburn family of Asbury. John Washburn, his wife, Deborah, and daughters Abby, 19, Samantha, 13, and Karli, 12, were involved in a head-on collision on Interstate 44 in Jasper County. John Washburn, 58, died in the crash. His three daughters and wife all suffered serious injuries and have been hospitalized since the crash. Abby had graduated from Carl Junction High School, and her two sisters are enrolled in Carl Junction schools.

With mounting hospital bills, several community members stepped up to help the family out. Gary Stubblefield, Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce president, was the emcee for the event, which was still under way with no total raised yet determined Friday night.

Stubblefield helped secure silent auction items worth more than $10,000, but he was quick to point out that the event was not just about the fundraising aspect.

“This is so much more than just raising money because there is the moral support and community support that they need from us,” Stubblefield said. “We want to let them know that we are here for them, and we will continue to support them in any way that we can.”

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