Family of woman killed at Brushy Creek speak out

Mary Pinney, left, was founder of Project Blue. (Source: Family)
Mary Pinney, left, was founder of Project Blue. (Source: Family)
Updated: Mar. 12, 2018 at 11:15 PM CDT
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MARION COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Weekend storms left a woman dead and her husband seriously injured in an East Texas campground. The family of Marc and Mary Pinney spent most of the day visiting the campsite where it happened.

"How there were not more fatalities at this campsite is absolutely unbelievable," the father of Mary Pinney, Jim Zaruba, Jr. said.

On Sunday morning, Mary and Marc were camping with their three children when the heavy thunderstorms hit and a tree fell down, injuring Marc severely and killing Mary. The children were not injured.

"We just left the campsite," Zaruba Jr. said. "How the kids were not hurt, it was God's call."

Originally from Mt. Belvieu, Mary was the founder of a non-profit organization called Project Blue.

"It was founded when Mary's brother passed away, when he died of cancer, he was a police officer," Pinney family pastor Jim Feirtag said.

After his death, Mary, along with her family, created a way to help families and officers with illnesses that occur outside the line of duty.

"There are hundreds," Zaruba Jr. said. "Maybe thousands out there that have had contact with her."

And all of those people are reaching out during the family's time of need.

"We are so grateful to our police family out there," Zaruba Jr. said. "All the calls,'s just been very overwhelming right now."

As the family continues to mourn the loss of a daughter, wife and mother, nothing has been harder for Zaruba, Jr.

"We know that she's there in heaven with our son now," Zaruba Jr. said. "In a way that's not fair, it should be me or my wife, I don't wish this on any parent to have to bury two children, but it is what it is."

Marc Pinney is still in intensive care at ETMC in Tyler with several broken bones. At this time, funeral arrangements for Mary have not been made.

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