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‘We’re just here to help’: Community gathers in Redmond to raise funds for Bend family who lost 5 members in crash

(Update: Adding video, comments from family members)

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A food truck in Redmond hosted one in a series of fundraisers Saturday for a Bend family who lost five members in a recent highway crash. The Ochoa family is survived by an 11-year-old girl who was critically injured. 

NewsChannel 21 spoke Saturday with family members and those supporting them to get an update. 

"He was the natural leader. He was the center of the family that brought all his friends, family together," said Javier Gutierrez Bacilio, Juan Ochoa Bravo's nephew-in-law.

 At the El Patron Mexican Kitchen in Redmond, all the proceeds from the day will help with funeral expenses for the Ochoa family.

The restaurant owners told us what prompted them to start the fundraiser. Owner Martin Iriche Corona had his daughter, Jatziri Cruz Policarpo, translate for him.

 She said, "When we first arrived to Central Oregon, or he arrived at the beginning, he got a lot of support from the community when he first got here, to settle in. He's saying that this is his way of returning that favor."

The food truck sold pozole, quesadillas, hand-made masa products and aguas. 

Cruz Policarpo said, "They're also tipping us, but we're also handing them over to them as donations. So we're not taking anything. Everything that we are getting is going to them."

And family members came to thank the community for their support. 

Gutierrez Bacilio said, "You could say definitely about my uncle, Juan, that he was one of the kindest, most cordial people, who helped everybody. In terms of being charitable with people, that was a part of what made him stand out."

Oregon State Police responded to a head on crash last week -- two miles north of the state Highway 58 junction in Klamath County. 

They found Juan Ochoa Bravo had been driving a Chrysler Pacifica heading north when he lost control and it slid into the southbound lane.

Five people died at the scene -- Bravo and four family members, leaving a sole survivor, an 11-year-old girl, in critical condition. The family will be making a visit to Portland to see her. 

Redmond resident Maria Vasquez said, "I have a family of seven, and I never have felt like this. You know, anybody that can help, we're just here to help."

Meanwhile, an online fundraiser begun by family friend Pedro Molina is approaching its $100,000 goal of helping the family with expenses. Last Sunday, a big crowd turned out for a fundraiser at the Masonic Lodge in Bend.

If you wish to pay your respects, the family is inviting people to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Bend on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m..

A food fest fundraiser to support the family is planned Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Bear Creek Elementary School, and another fundraiser and raffle is planned next Saturday, Feb. 3, from noon to 9 p.m. at Boss Rambler Beer Club on NW Galveston Avenue.

Article Topic Follows: Community

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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