Community rallies around 4 kids who lost parents

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LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - When Wes and Liz Martin were killed in an accident in the Outer Banks in July, their family’s main concern was the couple’s four children.

Alicia, 19, Andrea, 16, Timothy, 15, and Maria, 11, lost both their parents on that horrible summer day.

Relatives moved into the family’s Lancaster Township home, to help raise the children. Friends pitched with meals. The couple’s co-workers and church members donated funds and holiday items.

And now friends and family are taking another step.

They are organizing a 5-kilometer walk and run, called Miles 4 Martins, to be held Sunday, April 27, to raise money for the children’s education.

The event will include a raffle and food, and is designed to be an event that celebrates community.

It is that community feeling that has buoyed the Martin family since last summer, when the children’s lives were changed in an instant.

While the children were at the beach with an aunt, the Martins walked to a grocery store south of Corolla, N.C. A Virginia man, who told police he fell asleep while driving, struck the couple with his sport utility vehicle, killing them.

The next days were a blur, as family members came to North Carolina to collect the children and the aunt, Janet Bridge.

A funeral, attended by more than a thousand mourners, followed.

Weeks of homemade meals and support followed, from the family’s church, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church; Martin’s workplace, The Horst Group; and Mrs. Martin’s former and current workplaces, Lancaster General Hospital and Hershey Medical Center.

After the dust settled a bit, the family faced more challenges.

“There were decisions to be made,” said Fran Bridge, 46, of Mount Joy, Mrs. Martin’s brother. “The biggest thing was we wanted to try to keep the children together.”

Two of Mrs. Martin’s sisters stepped forward.

Linda Caccamo, of Shamong, N.J., and Janet Bridge, of Ephrata, agreed to split the main duties of caring for the kids, helped by other family members who also pitch in when needed.

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