Route 24 Bus Disaster Breaks Family Support System

On December 1, 2018 a large extended family had taken a school bus to The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in North Attleboro, MA. As an annual tradition for this large group of people, they would go and visit the shrine and admire it's extensive Christmas light display as well as light candles for loved ones who had passed away.

This year was a special year for all of these folks as one of the elders of the group had recently passed away. He was a father, grandfather, uncle and close friend of many of the passengers of this tragic bus ride.

He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and within two weeks it had taken his life. He was celebrated & interred the prior morning of this tragedy (November 30, 2018).  He was a dedicated Christian man and lived his life according to the word of Jesus. The group had decided to go to the shrine the day after his funeral to light a special candle for him - I am sure he is very appreciative of the gesture.

They had a great and memorable experience visiting the shrine and the Christmas light display. After lighting a candle for their loved one, they proceeded to go home. However, the ride home proved to be something not easily forgotten by anybody involved.

Since there is an ongoing investigation, I will spare the details gathered during the course of the event and events following. The initial news that broke nationally was incorrect and misleading in my opinion.

There were nearly 30 people on the school bus - infants, children, teenagers and adults - Fathers and Husbands, Mothers and Wives, Brothers and Sisters, Children and Parents, the inter-relation of this group of people is quite tight. This was a multiple family support system. They would help each other in any way and nearly every day  from household and automotive projects to babysitting and beyond. 

Today, their support system is broken. 

In my estimation, there are at least 10 households that will not be able to work to pay for themselves for some time to come. They have mortgages, rent, utility bills and other existing expenses (not including the soon-to-be medical expenses) that will quickly exhaust any savings accounts they may have. Many of these people are tradesmen or heavy machinery operators that will likely not be able to work in their respective fields again due to the extent of their injuries. They have young families and need help NOW during their recovery.

I have estimated $120,000 as a ball park estimate, more will likely be needed. The money received will be managed by a group of friends and relatives (TBD) to be distributed as the families expenses are defined and managed - we are still working out details - he have a competent team ready to get this started.

These people are going to need A LOT of help and support, if you are local, bring food, watch the kids, give rides, sit/talk/listen - do anything you can. If you are capable - please donate. It is going to a good cause. These people didn't deserve the amount of pain I had witnessed the last week losing my uncle, and the last 48 hours shouldn't be experienced by anybody - especially the children.

Please direct any and all inquiries to [email redacted], I will do my best to route the messages to the most appropriate endpoints for response.

My Experience: I was about to turn my phone off when I had received a phone call from my cousin - there was a disaster. I left for the closest hospital where victims were, many were children... While traveling, we (family members) established a phone tree to share information from the various hospitals about the individuals involved - it WAS NOT looking good for many.

Upon arrival at the first hospital, I saw the first few victims - broken back, collar bone(s) and concussions all around.  After determining that the worst hurt people were at another hospital, I decided to leave and have a look. Upon arrival, I started hearing stories from friends and family members that were already there. Children and Adults were being rushed here because their injuries were apparently too overwhelming for the other hospitals.

After gaining entry to the emergency room - it got real. I wouldn't wish upon anybody to witness what I and other family members had witnessed let alone experience what these people were going through. It was so bad, so bad. I will spare the details, but it was a horror movie for sure - not just a scene.

Over the next 48 hours, we (friends & family) checked in on our loved ones, camped out, laughed, cried, hugged and loved one another. We make a good team, but I don't want to do this again.

While some our family members are still in the hospitals, most have been discharged, many broken bones, many concussions many tears shed. 

We have established an ongoing and rotating watch for those who are still there - I have decided to get some rest - good night and thank you.

Go Fund Me required answers to questions:

Who you are and where you’re from?
Rich Quintal, Portsmouth, RI
Erin Hoxie, Charleston, RI
Bill Sedoma, Jr., Fall River, MA
Debbie Lawrence, Portsmouth, RI

Your relationship or contact to the parties you're raising funds for?
Rich and Erin are cousins to 3 of the victims, we have known all of them all or most of our lives or theirs. We have been tapped to handle the organization of information, donations and personal information as well as to provide real good hugs.

Bill Sedoma, Jr. is part of the immediate family.

Debbie Lawrence is Rich Quintal's mother and has been a long time acquaintance of some of the families involved.

How the funds will be spent (be specific as possible)?
The funds will be spent to cover mortgages/rent/utilities to keep these people from becoming homeless. They will need this money in the upcoming months and years to be able to preserve their quality of life. They are hard working individuals who cannot afford to be out of work, nor would they want to not work. This traumatic experience however has rendered many family providers helpless.

In addition to basic expenses, they will have medical expenses, additional child care costs and many more currently unexpected expenses that will be difficult to cover with workers compensation alone.

Your withdrawal plan to get the funds from the campaign to the ultimate beneficiary/ies?
We have compiled a board that will gather all base expenses and work to make sure that all needs are met. The funds will be deposited into a double-signer checking account, all funds released will have to be unanimously accepted by the board and signed by 2 signers. We are not here to keep anything from anybody, we need to take care of our family.

Fundraising team (4)

Rich Quintal
Raised $2,925 from 30 donations
Portsmouth, RI
William Sedoma
Team member
Raised $325 from 6 donations
David Quintal
Team member
Raised $270 from 6 donations
Danielle Cabral
Team member

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