Sweet Home, Ore. -- "You know, the phrase comes to mind 'Sweet Home takes care of its own'," says Chris Funk, co-owner of O&M Tire. "When something like this happens this community is amazing."
After a tragic jet ski accident led to the death of 6 year old Zach Maynard and the hospitalization of 6 year old Kennedy Swenson, the Sweet Home community has seemingly leapt into action. After a canned food drive last week in town, Funk and other local business owners wanted to help in their own way.
"It touches your heart you just want to help them," Funk explains. "There's four other businesses involved with me. We pledged some money to match hoping that would get people motivated."
O&M Tire, Radiator Supply House, Anderson Enterprises, Anchor & Arrow Construction and Apple Tree Real Estate Group have all pledged to match the total pot of donations up to $5,000. The businesses are working in conjunction with Holley Church, so the money goes to one centralized place and will 100% go to the families. Funk and Karla Hogan of Apple Tree Real Estate are Sweet Home natives who helped spearhead the plan.
"He's a local who grew up in this community," Will Garrett, co-owner of Radiator Supply House, says of Funk. "Ryan [Will's brother and RSH co-owner] and I didn't grow up here but it's grown on us. We love the community and he came and brought this proposal to us."
"People just rally around whatever the situation is," says Funk. "We had a can and bottle drive that a few people put together and I think they've loaded three semi trucks of cans and just overwhelmed the O'Reilly's parking lot."
"We have young kids, I have young kids," Garrett mentions. "We have a boat on the lake in the slip. We see how easily this could've been to our kids."
The business owners putting together the drive take great pride in their town and how the whole community has responded in the middle of a family tragedy.
"I think also it has a lot to do with towns like Sweet Home," says Ryan Garrett, co-owner of Radiator Supply House. "A logging community that has been through good times and been through bad times and in both times they stick together, they fight through it together and overcome those struggles."
"We put it out over the weekend and so just this week, yesterday and today is basically when it got started," says Funk. "We got a good reaction to it and got a good start so I'm excited about it."
Will Garrett: There is no doubt. Absolutely. It's a small community, you stick together, you support each other through the good times and through the tragedies like this. We all support each other as a family.