Herrin House of Hope employees picking up the pieces to reopen doors after accident

The Herrin House of Hope prepares to re-open its doors tomorrow. Now members are picking up the pieces to continue serving the community.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:03 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:15 PM CST
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HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - Herrin House of Hope is preparing to reopen its doors on Friday, February 24.

They closed on Tuesday after one of their founders, Jeffery Gee, died when a truck crashed into their building.

Now in the same week, they’re picking up the pieces to continue to serve the community.

“A rollercoaster, I would imagine a mix of emotions, it is still for us,” John Steve, the director at Herrin House of Hope, said.

That’s how he described coming back to work after losing his mentor. The kitchen he stood in was still torn apart from the accident on Tuesday.

“There’s no words, everyone’s been going through a really rough time,” Steve said. “Myself, I’ve just been trying to hold it together as much as I can.”

Katherine Grass has worked at Herrin House for 10 years. She said they’re all just holding it together, and the reason they’re doing it it because of the food that comes out of their kitchen.

“For some people it’s their only meal,” Grass said.

“This place helps people, I mean, food and clothing and meals,” Deborah Towne said. She’s been a part of the Herrin House of Hope family for the past three years.

She said even though it’s hard to be there, she doesn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I was at yoga Tuesday night, and I thought, I don’t really want to be here,” Towne said. “I would like to be with my House of Hope family.”

Steve said even though it’s only been a few days, getting back in the kitchen and serving their people is the only thing he knows to do.

“I know, wholeheartedly, he would want us to move forward as soon as possible,” Steve said. “He wouldn’t want what happened to him to slow us down at all, he would want us to serve the community and that’s what he did every single day.”

Steve also said many people have reached out asking how to help, and he said helping anyone you see in need is the best way.