By LINDSAY SHAFFER
That is the rallying cry of a community coming together to support three recovering teens.
At around 3:14 p.m. on March 24, one of the teens, Cora Grine, 16, of Tiffin, was driving her brother, Chase, 13, and another girl, Samarah Johnson, 16, of Risingsun, home from school.
According to the Bowling Green post of the State Highway Patrol, Cora was driving westbound on County Road 62, just south of Risingsun, when she failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by Theresa Nye, who was driving south on U.S. 23. Both cars went off the southwest corner of the intersection and struck a guardrail.
Cora was taken by ambulance to ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital, the patrol said. Chase and Samarah were transported by medical helicopter to Toledo Hospital.
To help offset the cost of hospital bills, Samarah’s aunt, Nikki McGee Johnson decided to throw a fundraising benefit with the profits going toward the children’s medical expenses.
“The community has come together like no other,” said Nikki Johnson. “Our theme is ‘Lakota Strong’ for the three students and the way the community has come together.”
The benefit will be from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at Lakota Local Schools. There will be spaghetti, rolls, salad, and dessert. The cost is $5 per person. There will also be a raffle, T-shirt sale and a silent auction.
Some money had been raised before the benefit, which has completely covered the costs of the spaghetti benefit, said Nikki Johnson.
Cora received broken ribs, a broken jaw, and lacerations on her liver and spleen. Chase received a broken collar bone, broken ribs, a broken wrist and a fractured pelvis. Samarah received a broken clavicle, two broken ribs, a skull fracture and her pelvis was broken in a few places.
All things considered, they are all in good spirits and recovering well.
“She is making remarkable recovery,” said Mandy Johnson, Samarah’s mother. “She has lots of visitors and she’s in good spirits. She can’t return to school this year, but has started working on school work.”
“They are doing great,” Richard Grine, Cora and Chase’s father, said. “They are going to be going back to school half days. They had angels looking out for them. If you saw the car, it wasn’t pretty.”
Even with all the injuries they sustained, it could have been much worse had they not been wearing their seatbelts.
“I kissed them and thanked them for wearing their seatbelts.” Grine said, “I was told if they weren’t wearing them, they wouldn’t have made it.”
Although Nikki Johnson is related to one of the injured students, she has other reasons for wanting to get involved.
“My 18-year-old sister was in a car accident. She didn’t make it,” she said. “I love doing benefits and even though they are family, I just wanted to get involved and just reach for the stars.”
For those who can’t make the benefit but are still wanting to donate, GoFundMe accounts have been set up for both families. The link to Samarah’s account is www.gofundme.com/samarahjohnson. The link to Cora and Chase’s account is www.gofundme.com/chase_cora.
“It is amazing that the community has come together so fast. We can’t thank everyone enough,” Mandy Johnson said.
“(Samarah) appreciates all the visitors and how much people care about her. We appreciate all the prayers.”
For questions about the benefit, call Nikki Johnson at 419-341-5557.
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