Thomasville--When the news that the small plane that crashed in Iowa City Tuesday morning was carrying passengers from Thomasville, shock ran throughout this tight-knit community. "They're the kind of people that make Thomasville the place that it is and anytime that something happens to one of ours then we're all concerned," said Wiley Grady, CEO Thomasville YMCA and a family friend of the Blantons.
Christina Blanton was with her daughter Sydney who was receiving medical treatment in Iowa for club feet. The plane, part of the Angel Flight Network was taking them home when it crashed just after take off. Everyone on board was taken to the hospital but sadly, Sydney, just shy of her third birthday, died from her injuries.
The pilot and Christina Blanton are recovering. "We were concerned also about her well being but we understand that she's ok," said Grady.
The Blantons have close ties with the YMCA, the Thomas county school system and are well-loved in many other areas of the community. "We are a small school system, we're a small community. And so we're all just very saddened. Even if you didn't know the family you'd be saddened by the situation," said Carolyn White, personnel director for the Thomas County School System.
Now people across the community are stepping up to help. Flowers Foods arranged for Christina's husband Scott to fly to Iowa to be with her and a fund at Rose City Federal Credit Union was set up for them. "I can understand that they would have some costs and being a young couple I would think it would be difficult for them and I'm sure many people in this community will want to reach out and want a way to help them and this is a way that they can do it," said Grady.
White commented, "I just know it's going to take a long time to get over something like this. And in fact, they'll never get over this. It will impact them for the rest of their lives." It's a tragedy that must be taken one day at a time. But their community will be here to support them, every step of the way.
Angel Flight provides free flights for people who need health care. They had been helping Sydney Blanton for the last couple of years.