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Mon, Feb. 17

Editorial: School acts to help community cope

There are broken hearts in the Chino Valley and Prescott communities.

The magnitude of the loss suffered when three children from one family were killed in a car crash on Wednesday is still too much to bear. The Hersh family lost 23-, 13- and 9-year-old siblings in the crash, and a 15-year-old was seriously injured.

Many know the Hersh family, in particular the Mountain Oak School community in Prescott where Julianna, 23, worked as a kindergarten assistant and Jeremiah, 13, and Jessa, 9, were students.

Some don't know the family. But as we learned this past summer, perhaps more than ever, in our community we're all family.

The tri-city area rallied around brokenhearted families all summer after the June tragedy in Yarnell. Many knew the families involved then, many didn't. But all shared the grief and disbelief over such an immeasurable loss. And all went into action.

We have neighbors in need of support again.

Mountain Oak School, coping with a singular sense of loss, is changing its annual fall Pumpkin Path Festival to be a memorial to the Hersh family. Students will be carving pumpkins during the day, and the festival is in the evening. "We want to celebrate the lives of these students, but at the same time, have those moments for grieving," Mountain Oak school board president Anna Carnegie-Marx shared late this past week.

At the event, the school will also accept donations to help the family with funeral costs.

The Pumpkin Path is open to the public. It starts at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28, at the school at 1455 Willow Creek Road in Prescott.

Support comes in many ways. Financial support at an unfathomable time of need has its place. Support also can include a hug, a letter, a card or even just showing up to the Pumpkin Path - which "Jules was always really involved with and was so looking forward to," according to Carnegie-Marx - and seeing in what ways you can help.

Our community cares for its own by offering comfort in times of need.

We'll keep the Hersh family in our prayers.

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