Community effort helps family rebuild their lives
By: Arnold Wyrick
Harrisburg, IL - It was a warm Sunday afternoon, on July 30th when Steve and Tammy Johnson headed out for a ride on his brother's motorcycle. It's a ride they would never come back from.
As the couple was turning off of Highway 45 South of Harrisburg they were struck from behind by 20 year old Braxton Leverett. Tammy was killed instantly, Steve died the next day in an Evansville, Indiana hospital.
Their 2 boys 15 year old Brayden, and 12 year old Austin are now in the care of Tammy's sister, and brother-in-law.
Tracy and Brian Kleinfeldt had just brought home a new baby girl of their own a couple of weeks before the tragic crash. In the blink of an eye their family went from 4 to 6.
And family and friends have been helping them adjust to the change from day one. Now they're all teaming up to help Brain and Tracy build on a 2 story addition to their home.
"It's been unbelievable family, friends, and people we don't even know, it's been a blessing for all of us. And it's been comforting. We can't thank people enough for what they've done for us and our family," says Brian Kleinfeldt.
As saws buzzed away, and hammers pounded nails into their new roof, Brian can only stand in awe. At the effort that's being put forth to help he and his wife welcome their nephews into their home. The couple already planned a much smaller addition for their daughters.
" I was approached by a couple of the contractors and they told me my vote didn't count. And they said we're adding another story," Kleinfeldt said.
As the final truss was swung atop the families new addition, it was clear to see this is a group effort with one goal in mind. To help the family build a new life together.
"It's just a heartfelt thing. When they died they took a huge chunk of us with them. We're just here to help. The kids are our main concern, and the family. We're just here to help them whatever way we can," says Kerry Boatright a family friend.
And Brian is looking forward to having his two nephews around in the day ahead.
"Now it's 3 guys and 3 girls so the playing field is evened out a little better."