ELKINS - Organizers were hard at work Tuesday planning a fundraising event to benefit the Elkins family that fell victim to Monday's house fire on Central Street.
Harvey Taylor, a Randolph County Board of Education member, said Tuesday the event will be "a combination cakewalk, 50/50 drawing and auction" held at George Ward Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 9.
Taylor said he was working closely with Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and the employees of Northwest Hardwoods in Dailey to plan the event. Taylor said the father of the family, Alan Chamberlain, worked at Northwest Hardwoods.
"There have been a group of people at my house here tonight working on this," Taylor said Tuesday evening. "Mayor Broughton was here and we spoke by phone with the grandfather of the family. We want to make sure we're following the family's wishes. It was very emotional."
Taylor said all proceeds from the event will go toward the family's funeral costs.
The initial idea for the event came from the Northwest Hardwoods employees, Taylor said.
"They called me and asked if I wanted to do this with them, and I said yes, absolutely," he said. "The employees are really behind it. Alan works there and his brother Justin also works there."
Taylor said donations are already coming in for the event and he welcomes help of any kind.
"We'll take any donations," he said. "We'll come pick them up. It's going to be a big, big event."
Taylor said anyone wishing to donate or help in any way can call him at 304-338-2087.
Broughton said the event is a chance for residents to pitch in and support the family.
"What Harvey is doing is great, and I'm happy to be helping him," Broughton said Tuesday evening. "We're partnering together. I'm also involved in the planning stages on another project related to this."
Local residents have expressed their shock and sadness about the deadly fire - which claimed the lives of the family's four children - on social media.
On Facebook, Nancy Welch Tipton posted, "I am asking for prayers for our family. A terrible tragedy struck early Monday morning. My cousin Alan had a terrible house fire in Elkins WV. He lost two precious girls. He, his wife, Jen, and his other daughter, and a stepdaughter, and brother-in-law, are in (a) Pittsburgh burn unit fighting for their lives. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, as well as the rest of the family. Thanks everyone for your prayers and continue to pray. Thank you and may God give all our family the strength we all will need to deal with this."
The Elkins Volunteer Fire Department posted, "As a Dept. we mourn the loss of the children from yesterday's fire... We pray so deeply for those still fighting... We continue to ask prayers for the family! Please say a prayer for our members as they continue to work with such heavy hearts and sadness... God bless those children we have lost and know God has his loving arms wrapped so tightly around them all."
As of Tuesday night, 175 people had shown their support by "liking" the Elkins VFD" s post.