EDITOR’S NOTE: I was in the same class in high school as George Vandecoevering. He was a bright light, and every time there is a boat that goes down, or a fisherman lost, I always think of George, too. Here is his sister’s personal thoughts about the recent tragedy near Willapa Bay, and her family’s tragedies from working to bring home the bounty from the sea.
From Teresa Vandecoevering Freeman – Tillamook County Community Page:
I lost my brother George and his crew at sea, (bodies not recovered) and my son Jeff and his crew to the sea. (I “got” to say my final goodbye at the funeral home to my son which was huge because not getting to say goodbye to my brother George haunted me for years) I know this pain. In fact today, February 7th, 17 years ago I lost my son and tomorrow, 37 years ago I lost my brother. I am meeting my Granddaughter Rylee today at the jetty where her Dad lost his life. She was only 4 but still misses him bad as I do. My only wish is I could take her pain away as she had to grow up without her Dad when all her friends had their Dad. It’s going to be a long road for this Dear mother raising her children and trying to explain that Daddy isn’t coming home. I do hope and pray his body shows up on the beach as there’s never closure but unlike my brother’s body lost at sea, I was grateful to my God to let me physically see my son at the funeral home to say my last goodbye. No amount of money will ease the pain but I know personally what it is like for children to grow up missing their Dad. Thanks for listening. When I lost my brother at sea I learned to have someone just listen is like prayer. I do hope this young mother has someone to just listen and also someone to help her young children move forward in the coming years.
Here is the go fund me for the lost crabber. This is all of our worst nightmare – the sisters, mothers, brothers, fathers, families and communities – I don’t know them but we could all be them in an instant and my heart is so heavy. Please donate if you can.
Bryson Fitch, a husband and father of three young children, is lost at sea after his crab-fishing boat, the Ethel May, sank near Willapa Bay this Sunday. Fitch was the only crew member of the vessel who couldn’t make it onto the lifeboat. Sadly, the immediate search to find him in the water was unsuccessful. However, his family is not giving up and is hoping the community will continue to look for Fitch.
“Please don’t stop searching. He is out there,” McKenzie Salas, Fitch’s wife, wrote on Facebook. “He is a fighter. Please keep looking. We need to bring him home. Anyone and everyone please.”
There is a verified GoFundMe where people can support the search effort and Fitch’s family. He was the sole provider for his wife and children, so they need help covering the bills while they continue to pray for his return.
To view the GoFundMe, please visit: https://gf.me/v/c/j59r/help-support-fitch-family
Here’s another heartfelt message to those that give their lives to provide for their families and communities putting the food on our tables. We do not appreciate it enough … https://shipreport.net/2023/02/07/lost-fishing-boat-highlights-the-connection-between-our-plate-and-and-their-work/