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Donations pour in to help family of 7-year-old killed in March 11 crash in Bel Air

The few bright moments for the family of Tripp Johnson, the 7-year-old killed last week in a fiery crash on Route 24 in Bel Air, have been from the outpouring of support from Harford County, a family member said.

“We do realize this has touched the community like nothing has for a while,” said Craig Falanga, the uncle of Travis Johnson, Tripp’s father. “It’s just unbelievable the support we’ve gotten. We’re very appreciative and very sensitive to that.”

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As a way for the community to grieve together for the loss of Tripp, a prayer vigil was scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Edgewood.

Funeral services for Tripp have not been made because his mother, Megan Fulleylove, remains in Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Falanga said. She had back surgery Monday that went well, he said, and was scheduled to have surgery on her arm.

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“We as a family do not want to bury this little boy without his mother,” he said. “As terrible as this burden is, and as painful as it drags on, we just can’t do it. If we have to have the funeral four months from now, that’s when there will be a funeral.”

McComas Funeral Home is handing the arrangements.

“He comes from a very large family, a very involved family, a very loving family. Tripp was always smiling, and he was a friend to all. People were just drawn to him," said William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School Principal Tammy O. Bosley about Tripp Johnson who died in Monday's Bel Air crash.

The family has been overwhelmed by the community’s support, Falanga said.

It’s “unbelievable, unfathomable” so many people have been affected by Tripp’s death.

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“I guess it’s the innocence of it,” he said. “It’s sad, in a way, that it takes a terrible, terrible tragedy like this for people to act the way we should act all the time.”

Their support is what’s keeping the incredibly close-knit family going.

“They are the bright moments in our day as a day in the family, when someone calls and reaches out and asks what they can do,” Falanga said. “The moments mixed in between the heaviness that are getting us through.”

‘Like a big, big, huge family’

Local businesses are hosting fundraisers for Tripp’s family to help with funeral and medical expenses.

Last week, a handful of Bel Air businesses held fundraisers for the family.

Black Eyed Suzie’s raised $11,700 Thursday for the family through raffles, 20 percent of the restaurant’s proceeds, straight donations and bartender tips, owner Brian Acquavella said.

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“It was crazy,” he said, “the enormous outpouring of people who came out and supported the event.”

In addition to raising $3,000 for the family, staff at 510 Johnny’s collected money in donations. It was a very emotional night, said Nicholas Sirlis, one of the owners.

“It was like a big, big, huge family,” Sirlis said. “People came from all over just to donate.”

Flavor Cupcakery raised $2,500 to donate to the family, owner Shelley Stannard said.

“What a busy day it ended up being — we got completely wiped out of product for the fundraiser and it truly was so amazing to experience such an overwhelming response of people wanting to help,” Stannard wrote in an email.

UnWined in North East in Cecil County had planned a fundraiser Thursday but had to cancel it because of a fire the day before, the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.

“We will, however, make our donation based on the previous Friday sales and will plan another benefit once we reopen. The amount raised will be added to our overall donation,” the restaurant posted.

Bonefish Grill at Harford Mall in Bel Air planned to donate 25 percent of its sales from Monday to Johnson’s family.

More to come

Other fundraisers are later this week. On Wednesday, Burgers of Baltimore LLC, which operates seven Burger King restaurants in Harford County, will hold a fundraiser to benefit Tripp’s family.

The 12-vehicle crash on Route 24 near Ring Factory Road in Bel Air on Monday morning remains under investigation by Maryland State Police.

Twenty percent of the entire day’s sales from the seven Harford Burger Kings will go to the family.

Burger King restaurants can be found at 1006 Beards Hill Road, Aberdeen; 1325 Policy Drive, Belcamp; 2110 Emmorton Road, Bel Air; 2122 N. Fountain Green Road, Bel Air; 200 S. Fountain Green Road, Bel Air; 305 Mountain Road, Fallston; and 2200 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood.

Also on Wednesday, Texas Roadhouse in Fallston will be donating 10 percent of its food sales and Enotria Restaurant & Grill in Forest Hill will be donating a portion of sales to Tripp’s family.

The Rardin Cos., owner of six McDonald’s in Harford, will donate 15 percent of its proceeds from sales between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 28 to the Johnson Family. McDonald’s stores include Churchville, Hickory, Fallston, Constant Friendship and both in Aberdeen.

Also, the gofundme page, https://www.gofundme.com/the-family-of-tripp-johnson, is still active and more than $82,000 had been raised as of Tuesday morning.

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