Benefits scheduled for family

Ferrells lost mother, brother in February fire

By Stephanie Prokop, Staff Writer
SPRINGFIELD — The Jacksonville Community Center and St. Andrew’s Youth Group will host a dinner Friday night that will benefit the Ferrell family, which lost two family members to a house fire in February.
    The dinner is one of two benefits scheduled to help support James Ferrell, 15, and Emily McManus, 23, the youngest surviving son and daughter of Michelle Ferrell, 53, who died in the house fire, and are in need of financial assistance, according to those who are close to the family. Ms. Ferrell’s son, Bobby Ferrell, 14, was also killed in the blaze. Siblings Joshua Cliver and Amanda Clive Steinberg also survived the blaze.
    Resident and family friend JoAnn Bauma Banks said although Emily and James are currently living with family members, she feels it is important to make the community aware of the devastating financial situation they will have to sort out.
    The Friday event will feature a spaghetti dinner at the Jacksonville Community Center, and will have a variety of different seatings, scheduled in half-hour increments starting at 4 p.m., with the last seating at 6:30 p.m.
    According to Jackie Ferrell, a relative of the family, as of Tuesday the St. Andrew’s Youth Group had sold approximately half of the 300 tickets.
    “Even still, I really don’t think that we will be turning people away,” she said of the benefit.
    The meal will be cooked on the premises, and the supplies to create the dinner are all being donated from community members.
    Ms. Ferrell said that all proceeds generated from the dinner will be placed in trust of Ms. McManus and Bobby, and both will be in attendance during the dinner on Friday night, she added. The price is $10 for adults, $5 for children 4 to 12 years old. Children 3 and under are admitted free.
    For tickets, call Ann Marie McMullen at 609-267-5884, or Jackie Ferrell at 609-658-8563.
    The cause of the fire Feb. 27 is still under investigation, but preliminary evidence indicated that the blaze started in the rear of the house, possibly in the clothes dryer.
    Anyone interested in making a donation can do so through a fund that has been set up through Commerce Bank. Checks can be sent to the Children of Michelle Ferrell Benefit Fund at any Commerce Bank, or mailed to Commerce Bank, Attn: Melinda, 510 High St., Mount Holly.