By Betty Gandee

The Clay County Mud Runners. Photo Betty Gandee.

When tragedy strikes and hearts are broken, Clay County community members know how to work together to get through the hard times.

Earlier this month, four beautiful children lost their lives to a house fire that quickly engulfed their home late in the night. Eight-year old Adrianna Morris, four-year old Lexi Boswell, three-year old Sierra Boswell, and six-month old Wyatt McKinney all perished in the flames.

When the fire broke out in their home, Katie and Trevor Neff tried to get all of the children to safety, but were unable. A two-year old boy was successfully rescued by breaking a window and pulling him to safety, but the other children were not able to be reached. When fire fighters arrived, the 100-year old home was fully engulfed in the flames.  Fire and EMS stayed on the scene all night and the next day to assist in any way possible.

While working the fire, local businesses stepped up to assist local emergency workers.  Clay Go-Mart got breakfast ready at 3 a.m. that morning, Tudors had breakfast ready at 7 a.m. for all volunteers, and Upper Cut Salon opened their shop for bathrooms and breaks for the workers.  Michelle Morton delivered lunch on Sunday and Billie Koch prepared food for the family throughout the days following.  These are just a few examples of businesses and individuals who stepped up to come together for each other when the tragedy struck.

Clay County Mud Runners is a special group of individuals who work hard for families in need.  This organization is a shining example of hard work in times of turmoil. They have gathered up household items, clothing, and other donations throughout the past week and continue to do so. Workman Monuments of Ohio reached out this group and now has graciously donated headstones for each child. You can drop off donations at The Hair Crew, Black Diamond Power, Premier Bank, Clay Roane PSD, Prestera, Ramsey’s Dairy Bar, and the State Police Head Quarters at Big Otter.  Monetary donations will be accepted at the Clay County Bank, Main Street and Two Run (not set up by The Mud Runners).

You can also order shirts and other clothing from the Mud Runners on their Facebook page, where proceeds will benefit their efforts of helping others.  The Clay High School students have also stepped up to do their part for the families, by dividing items by each grade to be brought in and pulling together to purchase gift cards to be used for needed items.

Not an unfamiliar scene of what it’s like to be a member of the Clay County community.  When there is a need, this county will always go above and beyond to be of help and assistance.