Fundrasier benefits bereaved children of accident victims

Entertainment, cruise-in and auction contribute to cause
Mar. 09, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

BROADWAY — When Aaron Powers, Kathy Powers, Chris Baker and Becky Powell died in a single-vehicle accident in January, six children were left behind. Now, friends and community members have rallied together to raise funds for those children through a day of entertainment and remembrance.

A score of events — including an auction, musical entertainment and a motorcycle and car show — is slated for March 16 at the Sanford Lions Club Fairgrounds in hopes of raising $60,000 for the children.

Jennifer Sallaz, a close friend of the four who died, said she wanted to find a way to honor her friends and support the children through a shared passion.

"Kathy had a love for Mustangs," Sallaz said. "So I thought let's do a cruise-in. When I put the event up on Facebook, it blew up with people wanting to help and wanting to find a way to donate."

Aaron Powers, 31, and his wife, Kathy Powers, 35, both of Sanford; Baker, 33, of Broadway; and his girlfriend, Powell, 38, of Chapin, S.C., were killed in the single-vehicle accident Jan. 12 in the 600 block of Swanns Station Road. Law enforcement agencies responded to the accident at 2:34 a.m. after the vehicle reportedly ran off the road, hit a tree and struck a vacant home, igniting both the car and house, said N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Steven Spivey in a previous interview.

More than 100 items have been donated to be auctioned off at 6 p.m. March 16 at the fairgrounds, and nearly 300 bikers are participating in the poker run, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Crossroads Ministries, located at 107 Milton Ave., Broadway.

"I think people should come out to show the children they are loved very much and the community is going to be there to support them," Sallaz said. "I think the community should come out and see how much these people were loved and how they are missed."

Tim Copas is helping organize the logistics of the celebration and helped bring award-winning band Dark Water Rising and the Hometown Hero Tour, among other musical performances, to the fairgrounds for the celebration. The music is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

"We have all kinds of activities and vendors coming out," he said. "We want it to be a carnival-type atmosphere at the fairgrounds. It's been a labor of love for the people helping the families out. We want it to be a trip down memory lane."

Tabitha Gautier, who has partnered with Sallaz for the Saturday event, said Baker was a close friend and like a second father to her son.

"(The past months) have been overwhelming," she said. "It's been a whole mix of emotions. There has just been the outpouring of support from the community, and it just shows what these four people meant to our community."

Growing up in a large family, Gautier said she wanted to get involved because of the two children who lost both parents and the four children who lost one parent from the accident.

"There is nothing that touches my heart more than a child," she said. "I hope everyone sees it that way and realizes what we need to do as a community."