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Community Rallies Around Ithaca Crash Victims

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Community Rallies Around Ithaca Crash Victims
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Just over three weeks since the accident that left a downtown Ithaca building in ruins, injured several people, and killed a young mother. Reporter Tamara Lindstrom has the story about the community giving their support to the people who need it most.

TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. -- With memories of the horrific crash still fresh in their minds, employees of Simeon's restaurant gathered Tuesday evening to help at a benefit in their honor.

"When you work in a restaurant, the staff becomes family," said Simeon's co-owner Rich Avery. "So it's like losing a sister in that regard. So emotionally, the wounds are healing and the community has really helped in that process. And a night like tonight really helps also."

It was a night of music, food and community at Ithaca's Stewart Park aimed to raise funds for the people affected by the crash that killed 27-year old Simeon's employee Amanda Bush.

"It's really just bringing the community together, part of the healing process for us," said Ithaca Common Councilor Deb Mohlenhoff, who organized the event. "There are some employees who were pretty traumatized as a result of the accident, so we just wanted to do a positive community benefit to help us heal a little bit as a community."

"I was there the day after and it was just heart wrenching to look into those apartments, think about that poor family that lost a mom. It's just heartbreaking," said Ithaca resident Cathy Emilian.

Organizers were inspired to host the benefit after offers and donations came flooding in.

"There's a lot of people that are out of work. There are a lot of people that maybe jut can't go back to work right now because of what happened. They have really uncertain futures," Mohlenhoff said. "So it's been a really nice, positive way to get them back together and to do what they love, which was cooking in the restaurant."

The money raised Tuesday will be put into a fund that will help people pay for things like living expenses, health care, and even counseling for those that are just beginning to recover from this tragic event.

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