Strangers help family affected by horrific crash

People in Gander have come forward to help some of those affected by a horrific car crash that happened near Clarenville on the Trans Canada Highway on Sunday.
Gander residents pitch in to help a family affected by a fatal crash, reports David Zelcer 1:54

People in Gander have come forward to help some of those affected by a horrific car crash that happened on the Trans-Canada Highway near Clarenville on Sunday.

The four-vehicle crash claimed the lives of two individuals, and critically injured two others.

Jeremy Whalen's wife Denise lost her mother, Evelyn Stokes from Deadman's Bay, in the accident. Evelyn's husband Gerard is still in critical condition in the hospital.

Donna McGrath also died in the crash. Her husband, lawyer John McGrath, was severely injured.

Before the accident, Gerard was in the middle of renovating the Whalens' house, to make it more wheelchair accessible for his granddaughter.

One side of the house had been removed when the accident occurred.

When residents in Gander heard about the tragedy, they immediately started coming forward and offering to help any way they could.

'The family is so grateful'

Claudette Menchenton is a friend of the family, who got the ball rolling with a message on Facebook.

"The list of friends that are showing up, that don't even know Denise and Jeremy, and are just wanting to help, and they're just lending a hand," she said.

"Wonderful things are happening that I never thought would happen, and we're just so humbled by it. And the family is so grateful and they are so thankful for each person."

Contractor Shawn Penney didn't hesitate to lend a hand when he heard the family affected by the horrific car crash needed help finishing renovations. (CBC)

Contractors are offering free labour; a good samaritan donated siding and shingles; a local catering company is sending food; and a furniture company is also offering assistance.

"Well I [saw] it on Facebook and I decided to call them and help out," said contractor Shawn Penney.

"My father's got a small company, and I can donate my time, and we've got lots of materials that have been donated and what not, so we're good to go."

Cory Foster, a family friend who was already working on the renovations when help started pouring in, said it's wonderful to see the generosity of others.

"To see how the Town of Gander has come through, and the people are coming through - it's a little bit surreal to say the least, and I guess it shows true Newfoundlanders. This is what we're known for," he said.

The group is hoping to have the renovations completed by this weekend.


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