Philipsburg

Community comes together after tragedy

People hold candles and purple balloons before the balloon release during a candlelight vigil for the Schultz family Monday at Osceola Mills Community Park.
People hold candles and purple balloons before the balloon release during a candlelight vigil for the Schultz family Monday at Osceola Mills Community Park. psheehan@centredaily.com

More than 100 people gathered in the community park Monday night – many holding candles and purple balloons.

All at once, dozens of balloons were released into the night sky – purple for domestic violence awareness.

Community members came together for a vigil to honor the victims of a double homicide and their family.

On Friday, Cody Bush, 26, shot and killed estranged girlfriend Victoria Schultz, 21, and her mother, Beth Schultz, 47, both of Osceola Mills, according to state police at Clearfield. Jessica Schultz, 25, was also shot and taken to UPMC for treatment.

“We don’t understand why such evil happens,” said the Rev. Marc Solomon, pastor at Christ the King Catholic Church in Houtzdale. “We don’t know how anybody with their free will could give in to such evil, but what we do know is that we can’t look the other way when there’s people being threatened, their lives are being threatened. And so band together and pray more than you’ve ever prayed before.”

Mayor Ida Reams said the community shares in the family’s sorrow, pain and grief. People need to look out and be responsible for one another, she said.

“Domestic violence (is) everybody’s business,” Reams said.

Jennifer Patterson, one of several organizers of the vigil, said they wanted to show the family that the community is here to support them.

The community has also rallied around the family in other ways.

A GoFundMe campaign was started Friday with a goal of $2,500 to help the family pay for funeral expenses and hospital costs.

As of Monday night, 71 donors had contributed $3,175 to the fundraising page. The page has been shared at least 900 times.

“I’ve known them for so long, and it was devastating. … I just really felt I wanted to do something to help,” Teresa Rebar, who created the GoFundMe effort, said in an email.

The Moshannon Valley Vikings semi-pro football team started a Christmas toy drive for Jessica Schultz’s 5-year-old son, Gavin. Gifts for Jessica are also being accepted.

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the Osceola Teener Field from noon-3 p.m. Dec. 2 and 2-4:30 p.m. Dec. 10. Donations are also being accepted at Thunder Tats Studio, 1836 Port Matilda Highway in Philipsburg.

Thor Marlow, Vikings and Thunder Tats owner, said the team wanted to do something to give back to a community that’s been so welcoming of the team.

The Facebook post about the toy drive was shared almost 350 times.

“This giant response is Osceola Mills as a whole,” he said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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