Region responds to tragedy

After tragedy along U.S. 2 on Friday, Jan. 23, the Upper Peninsula and nearby areas have responded to support the family of Jerry and Tara Weaver. The pair passed away after being involved in a multiple-vehicle crash while travelling from Escanaba to Sault Ste Marie, where the couple met in college.

Since the event, over 40 fundraisers, events and tributes have taken place around the region, going as far as Northern Wisconsin and downstate Michigan. Most of them have taken place at high school and college basketball games, since the Weavers were travelling to see their son’s Escanaba Eskymos face the Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils.

“Life is bigger than sports, but sports have a way to unite people in ways that nothing else can,” WQXO Broadcaster Cameron Nebel said in the post game of the Munising Mustangs’ first contest after the accident.

The game was at Bark River Harris, where the Weaver’s nephew plays for the Broncos.

“It kind of makes you appreciate everything and play for each other,” Mustang Kane Nebel said. “It’s really powerful and touching to see the whole U.P. come together for a good cause.”

Local efforts are providing additional aid for Weavers in many forms. Superior Central raised $2,300 in donations, 50-50 proceeds and concession sales. Munising raised over $1,900 from a bake sale earlier this week with additional monies to be raised at Thursday and Friday’s home games. More events at other schools are scheduled through next week based on home game schedules, so totals in Alger County and across the region-wide movement is not available. The generosity from events already posted have over $50,000 raised. A Go Fund Me account has raised another $156,000. Local businesses are also getting involved with the Limestone General Store offering up 20 percent of kitchen sales Friday-Sunday to the cause and Krist Oil offering five cents per gallon at stations across the region.