The Valdosta Daily Times
A four-hour outpour of love and communal support two Saturdays ago, culminated Monday morning at the Harvey’s Supermarket with a check presentation to family members of three Brooks County High School students who perished two weeks ago in a car crash north of Quitman.
Fundraisers secured $6,000 from hot dogs and chili, proceeds that were split Monday between the family members of Jicarre Watkins, Johnie Parker and Shawn Waters at the supermarket, said Store Manager Mary Seay.
The single-vehicle wreck jeopardized the life of De’Vron Whitfield and claimed the lives of the three other occupants as the four friends headed back from football practice down North Webster Street at around 9:30 a.m., July 9, according to reports.
With the county reeling from an emotional vigil on the night of the wreck, Seay said Store Manager Joey Futch of Thomasville stopped by her store in Quitman to draw a plan to provide relief for the families of the students.
“Joey came into my office and said we have to do something for these families,” said Seay. “I was just grief stricken, because they are part of my Harvey’s families. So we decided to put on a fundraiser, and we got outside and raised money for about four hours. I’m proud of the Brooks and surrounding counties for coming out showing their support.”
Football players from Thomasville Central and Thomasville High School relieved the Quitman store of bagging duties, according to Futch, while the fundraiser filled the parking lot with big hearts and full stomachs.
“Brooks County is our neighbor and we wanted to show them our support,” said Futch. “I was here, probably eight years ago ... So like I said, we’re family. Like they say, when the going gets tough the tough get going. We pulled together and had a good thing.”
God does wonderful works and miracles, rather than tragedies and misfortunes, said Agnes Kimbrough, Jicarre Watkins’ mother.
“Everyone’s looking at it as a tragedy, and it is for our community, but we also want them to know that, in God’s work, there are no tragedies,” said Kimbrough. “This is a work of the Lord and it will turn out to be a blessing for the young people as well as for this community and these families. So instead of calling it a tragedy, we call it a ‘BC3’ blessing and they’ve gone home to rest.”
Johnie Parker’s grandmother, Warnell Parker, shared Kimbrough’s sentiments and resolve to persevere the positive energy that has been released from broken hearts around the community. Parker enjoyed one last conversation with her grandson, an aspiring mechanical engineer, before his life was lost in the accident, and she said she was thankful for it.
“Johnie left on his way to do what he loved to do, and so we’re thankful that he’s at rest and peace,” stated the elder Parker. “I’d like to thank the community again, because they have been a great support to the families. I’m an old lady, in my 70s, but I’ve never seen anything come together like this. It has been a blessing. People have brought truckloads of love and support and we’re thankful.”