Local news

Benefit yard sale nets plenty of green

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2006

Thousands of people turned out Sunday for a giant yard sale to support a Rathdrum family who lost a father and daughter in a recent car crash that also injured two children.

The sale, sponsored by Kootenai County 4-H Program and held at Kootenai County Fairgrounds, raised $31,950 for Staci Wright and her eight children.

“We just wanted to get behind the Wright family. It’s just a way for the 4-H family to get behind one of their own,” said Jim Wilson, University of Idaho extension educator for the 4-H Program.

Jesse Wright, 35, and his daughter, 16-year-old Keriann Wright, died from injuries sustained in a head-on accident April 21, widowing Staci Wright.

The teenager was driving the family’s 1991 Chevy Blazer west on Highway 53 when it crossed the centerline and collided with a 1995 Dodge pickup.

Keriann Wright, a Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy student, died at the scene.

Her father, the family’s sole breadwinner, died May 1.

Two of the Wrights’ other children, Nathan Wright, 13, and Nicholas Wright, 12, are recuperating from injuries.

Jack Booth, Staci Wright’s father, said the family is grateful for the community’s support.

“People around here have been really helpful,” said Booth, a Post Falls resident.

His grandson Nicholas was recently discharged from the hospital, Booth said, and is home recuperating from a broken arm, bruised spleen and 123 stitches to his face.

Nathan is progressing more rapidly than doctors anticipated, the grandfather said.

The 13-year-old’s injuries include a broken leg, broken collarbone and brain trauma – which was the most worrisome, Booth said. But the youngster is doing well and was transferred to St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute last week.

“He can talk and answer questions and things,” Booth said.

The boys are active in wrestling, their grandfather said, adding that Nicholas also plays football and Nathan is a baseball player.

Although Booth believes his daughter’s family has some type of insurance, he isn’t sure what portion of the medical expenses will be covered.

He knows that becoming the wage earner for a family of eight won’t be easy for a woman who has spent the last few weeks in hospital rooms attending her loved ones.

“You can’t afford to worry about money when you’re trying to get the recuperation,” Booth said.

Wilson said more than 100 adults and kids in the 4-H program volunteered after being commandeered by Don Buss and Kelly Penberthy, major organizers of the effort.

A flood of donations filled the two fairground buildings that 4-H had originally reserved and stretched into another building and outside over the weekend, Wilson said.

Sales, minus taxes, totaled $19,564. But visitors who heard about the family’s plight wanted to give above and beyond the price of baubles and housewares – contributing $12,386 more.

“Folks would come in and say, ‘We want to give some additional money,’ Wilson said. “It was just tremendous.”


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