Shrimp boil raises money for families of teens killed in car crash

Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 8:48 PM CST
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GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - Gautier-Vancleave American Legion Post 1992 knows how to put on a shrimp boil.

But there is always more to it than providing a platter of tasty seafood -- especially on this day.

“The American Legion is all about giving back to the community,” said post commander Rich Johnson. “And when we heard about this tragic incident, and, plus, we have an employee here that was related to one of the girls who was involved in this horrific accident, we decided we need to host a benefit to do what the legion could do to support the family and the community.”

So, leaders put on the shrimp boil and silent auction that featured about 50 items - as well as a raffle and live auction with items handmade by friends and family members.

All of the money will help the families of Chloe Taylor and Baleigh Bowlin, the two East Central High juniors who died in a car crash after attending homecoming festivities in October.

“To me it just shows what it means to be a member of the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Baleigh’s grandmother, Carol Rouse. “That’s just how we do things here.”

Rouse said so far, healing from the tragedy is going slowly.

“Of course, it doesn’t bring anybody back. But just knowing that people still care just means the world to all of us,” she said. “And we thank them very much for going out of their way at the holiday time to take the time to do this for us. It’s just a blessing.”

While the extra money is helpful, she asks for something else from the community.

“Just pray for our comfort. That’s the biggest thing. And we still ask for that. And just keep us in mind. It’s tough. Holidays are always tough for a variety of reasons for people. But missing her at this time is going to be really bad.”

Johnson said that the post will continue to accept donations to the family, which can be brought to the post at 3824 Old Spanish Trail in Gautier or mailed to P.O. Box 682 Gautier, MS 39553.

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