The Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society is thanking Beverly Jeschke and her children Graham, and Madyson (in picture) for their recent $2,000 donation to their shop. Submitted

Community supports family, family gives back

Three years after being lifted out of one of the darkest times in their lives, a family has returned to pay it forward to the community that helped them.

Beverly, Kevin, Graham and Madyson Jeschke had only been living in the small town of Sparwood for 16 months when tragedy struck in December, 2014.

It was the night of Christmas Eve, and both Kevin and his wife Beverly were making their way back from Cranbrook through a treacherous snowstorm. Kevin, who had a history of asthmatic issues, began to have difficulty breathing. They decided to continue driving, with Beverly behind the wheel. Kevin tapped on the dash board to let his wife know he was okay. It was when he stopped tapping that she pulled over and called 911.

An ambulance arrived and transported Kevin to the Cranbrook Hospital, but shortly after they arrived, he was pronounced deceased. They later determined the cause of death to be cardiac arrest.

“My husband was a very outgoing man,” said Beverly. “Always happy, always bubbly … You couldn’t be in a bad mood with Kevin around. He was a very outgoing, young man, and he died at a young age.”

“It was a shock to me, it was a shock to my kids, of course, Christmas Eve.”

Kevin, 43, was the sole supporter of the young family, leaving Beverly alone with her two children, Madyson, then eight-years-old, and Graham, 11-years-old. What followed was a massive outreach of community support.

Despite just landing a job at Tim Hortons, Beverly knew she had to return to Edmonton where they owned a small home, and where the rest of their family resided. Without question, she received a week off. Word had quickly spread throughout the community of the tragedy, which in turn sparked a tidal wave of support of neighbours, friends, and several businesses including the Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society. A thrift shop volunteer offered to drive a U-Haul to Edmonton for the family to help transport their goods.

Shortly after, a large U-Haul truck as well as a car-hauler, arrived at their home. Beverly still doesn’t know who paid for the transportation, but is eternally grateful for this selfless act. Before leaving, the food bank, as well as Tim Hortons, supplied the family with food, and several people supported them on their trip home.

“The last few years, the kids and I have been talking about it, and we decided, how about we donate right back to the community so they can help another family that may need help,” said Beverly.

On August 8, Beverly and her daughter drove to the thrift store in Sparwood to hand deliver a donation of $2,000.

“I love that community, I still feel like it’s home to us,” said Beverly.

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