Santee Wendy’s raises more than $20K for families to rebuild after plane crash


SANTEE, Calif. — Two weeks after tragedy struck a Santee neighborhood, the community is closer than ever.

The fundraiser held Tuesday to help two families rebuild after a twin-engine Cessna crashed into their neighborhood raised an estimated $21,000. All the proceeds of the day’s sales starting at 6:30 a.m. and continuing past 10 p.m. benefit residents Maria and Phil Morris and Cody and Courtney Campbell, who both lost homes as a result of the crash.

Two people including the pilot Dr. Sugata Das and longtime UPS driver Steve Krueger were killed while the Morris family remains in the hospital with severe burns suffered in the aftermath of the crash.

Tuesday’s strong show of support was a breath of fresh air for the Morris’ son, Jimmy Slaff.

“I am really shocked,” Slaff said. “We drove up here and there’s a wall of cars going down to the next block.”

The Santee community showed up in a big way after the crash upended lives and homes, leaving a multitude of destruction and devastation to sift through.

“It’s almost like the thank yous and the we appreciate it – they don’t even speak to the emotion that we are feeling in this moment,” Cody Campbell said.

The Campbells were lucky to be at work at the time of the crash, but lost everything.

“We are just really grateful, blessed to even be standing here at all,” Courtney Campbell said. “It’s going to be a long journey, but moments like this make it a lot easier.”

Slaff‘s mother and stepfather were home at the time of the crash. Neighbors rushed to their rescue, but they both suffered second-and third-degree burns.

“The gratitude that our families feel for everybody who’s taken the time to come out here and support us is immeasurable,” Slaff said.

Now, the Campbells are hoping for help finding a rental while everything with their home is sorted out. They say they’re having a tough time, but would like to stay in the community while trying to rebuild.

The Wendy’s drive-thru line wrapped around the parking lot throughout the day and inside the restaurant hundreds of people were more than happy to wait if it meant helping their neighbors through this trying time.

“This is definitely a tragedy, but out of the ashes that are our houses a phoenix will rise and that happens to be community, and goodwill and love,” Slaff said.

If you couldn’t make it to Wendy’s and are interested in supporting the families, online fundraisers are available for Courtney and Cody and Maria and Phil.

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