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6 months later, church remembers two lost in crash

5:52 PM, Mar 16, 2013   |    comments
Members of Cedar Grove Baptist Church volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank.
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March 16th marks six months since a driver, headed the wrong way on Chapman Highway, crashed into a church van carrying members of a youth group.

The crashed injured 10 and killed two Cedar Grove Baptist Church members, including Youth Leader Jeff Trussell and 16-year-old Courteney Kaliszewski.

The Sevier County District Attorney said the driver of the other vehicle was high on bath salts at the time of the incident.

Church members were returning from a weekend youth retreat when the crash happened.

The retreat was a reward for time spent giving back to the community at Second Harvest Food Bank.

Six months later, they just happened to be scheduled to volunteer at the same food bank again.

Kim Trussell, who lost her husband Jeff, said giving back is a great way to honor him and Kaliszewski.

"The best thing that we can do is to continue to give glory to God and continue to honor the lives and the servant hearts of Jeff and Courteney because they loved to be here," Trussell said.

She went on to say, "It made me wonder, 'How am I going to come back from this?' But as much bad as I have noticed from this, I've seen double the good."

The 10 survivors of the crash are still physically recovering, including Chuck Jones' daughter.

"We've been so focused on the improvement of our daughter through this time that really we have busied ourselves with that and haven't had a great deal of time for things like anger. We haven't had that yet," Jones said.

He went on to say, "Until you get that call, driving to a tragic scene, that your brother-in-law has gone home to be with the Lord... You just don't know what that means and I'm the one that gets to be thankful that my little girl came home and it's given me a whole new appreciation for life and just how short it can be."

Cedar Grove Baptist Church is planning the "Hold On Be Strong 5K" for September 15, a day before the one year anniversary of the crash.

There will be a community wide praise service after the race.

Roger Williams & The All Mixed-Up Quartet will headline the event.
Dave Foulk with Newstalk 98.7 will MC.

For more information and to register go to:

The "Be Strong Memorial Fund" has also been set up for Jeff and Courteney at Second Harvest Food Bank.

You can donate here:

Proceeds benefit Seymour Volunteer Fire Department.

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