Nova Scotia

Wolfville rallies around recent immigrant family after fatal car crash

Premkumar Ramanujam was the primary income earner in his family. Since his death earlier this week, a campaign has already raised thousands of dollars to help.

Fundraising campaign shows 'how well-loved they are'

Premkumar Ramanujam, second from right, died in a crash on Dec. 3. (GoFundMe)

The community of Wolfville, N.S., is coming together to support a family after the father, Premkumar Ramanujam, died in a car crash near Kentville earlier this week.

Ramanujam, 51, was killed on Dec. 3 when the vehicle he was driving collided with an ambulance on Highway 101. Road conditions were icy and slushy throughout much of the province at the time of the crash.

He and his family, including his wife, Anita, and sons, Ajay and Andrew, immigrated to Canada from India in 2017.

"He was known by everyone, I think, as a very kind and gentle man," said Anna Robbins, the president of Acadia Divinity College at Acadia University, where Ajay is a student.

"He wasn't a man of lots of words, but a big smile and just so clearly loving of his family and supportive of them and the wider community. He was a delight to have around."

Anita is a master of education student at Acadia and Andrew is in Grade 12 at Horton High School.

In addition to grief, the family is now grappling with financial concerns.

"They had just really started to kind of settle into jobs and studies and things seemed to be evening out for them and so their immediate need is going to be significant," Robbins said.

Although the other members of the family worked part-time, Premkumar was the main income earner.

'Outpouring of support'

In just its first day, an online campaign raised $10,000 to assist the family, and donations are also being accepted by e-transfer, by mail and at Royal Bank of Canada branches.

"I think the outpouring of support for them speaks of how well-loved they are," Robbins said.

Andrew Conrad, the organizer of the fundraiser and a close friend of Ajay, said many people were wondering how to help the family in their time of need.

"I knew that the community would want to be able to tangibly give back and support them."

Conrad said it will likely be a while before any of the family members are working again.

The Ramanujams have embedded themselves into the community of Wolfville in the short time they have lived in the town, Robbins said. Anita serves the Wolfville Baptist Church as a deacon, while Ajay is the treasurer of the Acadia Divinity College Students' Association.

Robbins said she has been in touch with the family and has been told they are "deeply touched" and grateful for support from friends and strangers.

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About the Author

Frances Willick is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. Please contact her with feedback, story ideas or tips at frances.willick@cbc.ca

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