Honoring Zach, supporting Kennedy
Massive outpouring of support for victims, families, follows Foster Lake jet ski tragedy
July 29, 2020
The community of Sweet Home has responded with a multitude of fund-raisers and other expressions of sympathy to the families of two children hit by a runaway jet ski.
Zachary Maynard, 6, lost his life after being struck by the watercraft and and his good friend, 6-year-old Kennedy Swenson, was severely injured.
According to his mother's Facebook page, Maynard died Thursday, July 23, due to his injuries, which included skull fractures.
Kennedy survived with severe injuries, including broken clavicle, sternum and jaw, according to her mother Jessica's Facebook posts.
"She has 15-20 yrs of dental procedures ahead of her including dentures and implants for the teeth she lost and the teeth that may not come in," she wrote. "She is so so sad and so so angry and it breaks my heart."
Jessica Swenson posted soon after Maynard's death that he had saved Kennedy the day of the accident.
"He LOVED her since day 1 and I now firmly believe he was put here to protect and love her," she said. "He pushed my baby out of the way of that jet ski, and if he didn't Kennedy would not be here."
She added that's she's heartbroken for Rachel and Jeremiah Maynard for their loss. "Thank you for raising such a perfect sweet little boy and raising him to love so hard like he did."
Since the tragic accident, the community of Sweet Home has pulled together to support the two families in myriad ways.
When the Maynard family returned from the hospital, hundreds of people gathered along Long Street to wave signs and show support as the family drove by Thursday evening. Some gathered at schools and churches, others in their own front yards, entire families gathered to support a family struck by tragedy.
The community held a drive-by procession for Kennedy Swenson after she returned home on Friday, July 24. Holley Church organized the procession, which was led by emergency vehicles.
Sweet Home is supporting the families financially too. Holley Church is accepting donations for the families and paying card transaction fees so that 100 percent of the donations go to the families. The church has raised more than $12,910 as of Monday, July 27.
A GoFundMe campaign for the Swensons has raised $19,945 as of Monday, July 27, and a campaign for the Maynards has raised $41,688.
A bottle drive on Saturday, July 25 organized by three sympathetic mothers gathered two semi-truck loads of cans and bottles and four trailer loads from donors across the state. Shelly Martineau, one of the organizers, said she decided to organize the drive with her friends, Angie Bair and Leeona Cruz.
"It's been amazing," Martineau said.
Anyone who wants to contribute their bottle refunds to the families can give their bottles at Bottle Drop and request that the funds go to AYSO Region 870.
"They said any money that happens to go in there goes straight to the family."
Martineau said people came from as far as Cottage Grove and Springfield to donate their cans. "When we pulled in yesterday and we saw a horse trailer full and she and I just started crying. If I stop to think about this too much, I start crying," she said.
Martineau choked up thinking about how she considered taking her kids to the lake that day. "I needed to do something to help these families," she said.
On Sunday, July 26, a group of 15 adults and eight children held a prayer service at the new City Hall. "After seeing all the young children that have been seriously injured or killed over the last year, we just felt as a community to be in unity," said organizer Nancy Patton. She said she is planning to hold more prayer gatherings for the children.
There are more events coming up in the next few weeks to support the Maynard and Swenson families.
Several local businesses are partnering together to match up to $5,000 in donations to Holley Church. Donors can drop off checks payable to Holley Church at Apple Tree Real Estate Group, O&M Tire Service, Radiator Supply House, or Anderson Enterprises. Anchor & Arrow Construction is also assisting with the match.
Sweet Things Boutique is holding a raffle for the families of the two children through Aug. 1. Participants can buy tickets at the boutique, 1045 Main St., or online at http://www.sweet-things-boutique.com. The drawing will be held Monday, August 3 at 10 a.m. on Facebook Live.
Oregon Real Estate Professionals has reserved the Rio Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 4, for a 6 p.m. showing of The Goonies. The showing is free, but they request donations for the family at the event.
Little Promises is hosting a walk at the Little Promises Field to support Zach and Kennedy at from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1. All proceeds go to their families. Little Promises is seeking financial sponsors for walkers.
Thriftway is holding a drawing for several steak packs, with each entry costing $5 and 100 percent of the proceeds going to the two families. The draw date is Friday, August 7, and participants can buy tickets at the register inside Thriftway.
A July 24 update from Linn County Sheriff's Office stated that the 23-year-old has not been charged.
"The investigation reveals the watercraft was stationary and the operator was adjusting equipment when he fell off," the statement said.
Captain Michelle Duncan said "It's too early in the investigation to know if there was, you know, some jet ski safety issues, or what exactly was going on with the watercraft, and why it took off. So I couldn't speculate to the cause right now."
She said the operator has remained cooperative throughout the investigation. Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon said there is still more to investigate, then the case will be referred to the District Attorney for review.