HURRICANE — Community members are rallying around the family of a Hurricane resident who died in a truck accident near Salina Tuesday.
Doug Beutler, who would have turned 47 Saturday, was driving home when his front steer tire blew out.
The truck veered into oncoming traffic, family friend Danielle Crofts said, and in order to avoid hitting someone else head-on, he managed to swerve the other way, driving off a cliff on that side.
Doug Beutler was a truck driver with his own company and he worked throughout the week delivering mobile homes.
He would drive throughout most of the week, Crofts said, but would make it home for the weekend.
In a cruel twist of irony, this was his last trip, Crofts said. The business was no longer feasible for the family, so Doug Beutler had decided to hang up his truck keys and find a different job.
Not only that, but his children were looking forward to celebrating his birthday with him this weekend, making their first week without their dad that much harder.
Doug Beutler is survived by his wife of 25 years, Tonya Beutler, and five children, ranging from ages 12 to 21. The oldest, his son Austin, had just come home from serving a two-year mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about two months ago, Crofts said.
While the older children are dealing with the tragedy “as well as can be expected,” Crofts said, the younger ones are having a harder time wrapping their heads around the fact that their dad isn’t home this weekend.
The tragedy has left Tonya Beutler with having to figure out a way to pick up the pieces and provide for her children. Knowing this, Crofts took it upon herself to find a way to help provide some comfort for the Beutler family.
Crofts started a plan for a fundraiser to provide a leg up for the family.
The fundraiser will be a dinner of pulled pork and lime rice, followed by an auction of items donated by community members.
Dinner will start at 5:30 p.m. July 27 at the Hurricane High School, where organizers will provide dinner for a suggested donation of $45 per family or $10 for a single plate.
There will also be plates of treats available for a suggested minimum donation of $5.
For those who can’t attend, there is a GoFundMe page set up for the Beutler family.
By hosting this, Crofts has had people come forward asking to help in different ways, including providing music to bring more people to the event, helping to cook or providing donations in advance.
Crofts has known the family for many years and they’ve been good family friends, she said, and she just wants to help them.
“It was a horrific accident that happened and it was such a shock to everybody in the community that knows him,” Crofts said. “He’s such a selfless guy, always has a smile on his face, as well as his family, and I just wanted to help them as much as I can.”
While the money is important to help ease some of their worries during this time of trial, Crofts said, the fundraiser will hopefully serve another important purpose.
“I think just as equal as the money is the community support,” Crofts said. “Knowing that people care and love them and are there for them. And that’s why I honestly really love the town that we live in, because everybody cares about everybody.”
So far, the community has proven that they are there for the family.
Within two days of letting people know about the fundraiser, Crofts had to switch locations for the event because enough people had already RSVP’d that they would fill the originally planned Hurricane Community Center to capacity.
The GoFundMe page has also raised almost $1,600 so far, with more than a week to go until the date of the actual fundraiser dinner.
Crofts said she hopes to raise at least $10,000 for the family, although everything they raise, whether it ends up being more or less, will go directly to the Beutler family.
“The more we can get, the better we can set up for her so at least she has a little bit of peace of mind,” Crofts said.
- What: Fundraising dinner and auction for the Beutler family
- When: July 27 at 5:30 p.m.
- Where: Hurricane High School, 345 W. Tiger Blvd, Hurricane
- Tickets: Recommended donation of $45 per family or $10 for a single plate | RSVP and pay for tickets through Danielle Crofts’ Facebook page.
- Obituary: Douglas Walter Beutler
Ed. note: Those considering contributions are advised to consult with their own professionals for tax advice and investment risks.
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