A local community steps up to help a grieving family

By Donna McCollum - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TENAHA, TX (KTRE) - 5-year-old Nathan Cooks passed away after being taken off life support just after midnight Wednesday morning. Nathan was one of three children hit by a truck Tuesday morning while waiting for a school bus along Highway 84 just east of Tenaha. His older sister, JaLyric Boykin, died at the scene. Their 14-year-old aunt, Danielle Cooks is at ETMC in Tyler. While her injuries remain substantial, doctors have intimated optimism for her recovery. We are still waiting for word on if the driver of the pickup, Eloy Lara of Palestine, will face any charges. The 22-year-old was not injured.

The deceased children's mother is back in Tenaha. Yolanda Boykin stood on the spot where her two children received their fatal injuries. The young 21-year-old stared into space while a Longview attorney leaved after presenting his pitch. According to family friends, as many as 12 attorneys began calling Tuesday alluding to a civil lawsuit. Boykin's former Head Start teacher listened closely in an attempt to look out for Boykin's welfare.

Help is coming in other ways. The First Baptist Church is where JaLyric, Nathan and Danielle attended youth group and Sunday school. Volunteer Ruth Krantz will miss the children at Wednesday evening service.

"At times Danielle would come sit with us and the younger children usually sat over on this side," said Krantz pointing to a bench in the sanctuary.

Each Sunday a volunteer driven bus would pick the children and their mothers up for Sunday service. Since the accident, church members have remained with the single moms. Some were the only ones with Nathan as his mother made arrangements to get to Shreveport where he was being treated.

"We want to be available where needed, if needed, whatever it might be," said Jim Krantz.

The local church is attempting to meet the children's families immediate needs, but there is evidence that these needs are much grander than what a local church can provide. A large extended family live together in a trailer. Often there is no running water or electricity. Times are hard, but now they're even more difficult.

"[Finding] provisions is not a problem," said Jim Krantz. "It's all the underlying problems that need attention."

The prayer of those who deeply care about the two moms struck by hardship and grief is that they'll receive the long term attention, help and guidance they so desperately need.

Financial assistance can be provided through the Tenaha School District. School officials can be contacted at www.tenahaisd.com or 936-248-5000.

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