E. Texas town takes care of family on Thanksgiving - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

E. Texas town takes care of family on Thanksgiving


One East Texas town is spending Thanksgiving together today. Hundreds of Winnsboro residence gathered for a free meal at Richie's Grill and Cafe in Winnsboro to give thanks and a donation.

When they heard one of their own was struggling, the town pulled together for a fundraiser on this Thanksgiving Day.

"It's just another thankful day that the Lord's taken care, give us Thanksgiving, 'course we'll have an empty seat," Jerry Thornton, the father of Michael Thornton who died in a car wreck a few weeks ago, said.

"They're little, they don't understand a bunch of it, they're missing him a lot," Amber Lindley, Thorton's ex-wife said about their two daughters.

That empty seat is where Paris and Skylar's dad should be.

"I got out of the hospital Sunday and their daddy passed away Thursday," Lindley said.

Michael Thornton was killed in a car wreck four weeks ago. The girl's mother, Amber, had undergone surgery for colon cancer just four days before.

"It was horrible, really, I'm sure it hasn't quite hit the girls yet," Bridget Perhot, a family friend said.

Today the entire Winnsboro community is saying thanks by giving.

"When one of us is in need it's no problem for everybody to say hey, we need to help this person, we can do this," Perhot said.

Richie's Restaurant is serving free lunch and in place of payment patrons are asked to donate to a fund for the Thornton girls and their mom.

"They were extremely close with him, and he loved those girls, and he did a lot for them, that too is why I wanted to make sure that nobody else would have to take on that burden that, you know, he's not going to be able to send them to school, take care of these girls, like he needs to," Perhot said.

Though Amber and Michael had divorced years ago, their families kept in touch, but this Thanksgiving the loss of one brought them all back together.

"I just can't say how pleased I am what's happened today, all these people here it shows you that he was well loved," Michael's dad said.

Today, maybe just a simple thank you will do.

One of the Thornton girls also requires multiple surgeries to help with her cerebral palsy and the family is having trouble paying for those.

This is the fourth year that Richie's has held a free lunch asking for donations. Bridget Perhot says she knew this year the Thornton's would be the perfect family for the fundraiser so she pitched the idea to her bosses.

They, of course, said yes.

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