PHILIDELPHIA, Tenn. (WATE)– A Philadelphia family is recovering after a multi-vehicle crash involving an 18-wheeler in Loudon County on Tuesday–and the community is trying to help in any way they can.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, six people were injured in the wreck.
The Rolen family was in one of those vehicles, and all four family members inside were injured. Josh Rolen, the husband, and father, was the only family member not in the crash. He thanks God his family is ok.
“I’ve seen pictures of the car. Anybody else that walks up to it that didn’t know that they made it would swear up and down that nobody, nobody walked away from that wreck,” Rolen said.
Rolen said his wife Ashley got the brunt of the damage. He said doctors had to put rods in her broken arm, and needed to find out how fractured her pelvic bone was. His youngest, Paxton, had to have surgery on his skull and facial reconstruction due to a large gash in his forehead. He also had a black eye.
His oldest son, Parker, had head and back injuries, but he was up and moving around. Rolen said his daughter, Shaella, had a back injury, but doctors needed to see if she needed surgery or a halo brace.
Even with his wife being in the bad condition she was, he said she couldn’t help but to fight to check on her babies Tuesday night.
“She wanted to get up and check on her babies. I seen her there a few minutes ago, and I told her–of course she’s in a, they’ve got her in a twilight sleep–but I told her I said, ‘they’re ok. I said Paxton and Shaella are fine. You know, I’ve been over there with them, you know, we’re going to make it through this,'” Rolen said.
Rolen’s family is split up between two hospitals while they are recovering. So, he’s having to go back and forth. While he’s focusing on their recovery, the Loudon County community is stepping up in a huge way.
Marvin Feezell, Principal of Philadelphia Elementary, said his school was taking in donations for the Rolen family.
“Really the whole thing was unsolicited. I just sent out some information to some teachers and it just grew on its own because that’s what happens here,” Feezell said.
The two oldest kids are Philadelphia warriors. Shaella is currently a cheerleader there, and Parker used to be a student at the school. Feezell said the Philly family kicked in from all over the country wanting to donate money for the family.
He said donations have come in from people who don’t know the family, from people who went to the elementary school decades ago, and from teachers who are out of town on vacation.
“It’s always been a school that’s kid first and that shows up every time that there’s a need. Our community responds without hesitation,” Feezell said.
He said the Rolen family has always been very involved in the school ever since they came to Philadelphia.
“They’re always giving, and helping others and now it’s just our turn to help them. But, we love the Rolen’s here in Philadelphia. They’re in our thoughts and prayers, in addition to whatever help we can provide,” Feezell said.
Although they were originally collecting donations Tuesday until 3 p.m., Feezell said he expects people to continue stopping by the school to help out through the week.
Someone with the school would personally hand the funds over to the family.
A fund was also set up for the family at three locations of the Foothills Federal Credit Union. All someone has to do is visit a location and say they want to donate to the Rolen family.
Rolen said he knew about the donations, and he couldn’t be more grateful for the community he lives in.
“We appreciate what they’re doing, we love them. You know, their love for us is felt. So we’re just, we’re just trying to take care of each other and do what we can. That’s all we can do,” Rolen said.
Now, all he has to do is focus on his family. He said they have a long road of recovery ahead of them.
As of 4 p.m., nearly $5,000 had been raised just through the school’s donation fund.