Hobbs businesses host benefit cookout for families of USW students killed in crash

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 6:51 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A grieving community in Eastern New Mexico is uniting to provide for families in mourning.

Businesses in Hobbs are raising money for the families of six students and a coach who died in a tragic crash in Andrews County. They were part of the University of the Southwest’s golf program.

Two other students are still recovering in a Lubbock hospital.

Now, businesses in Hobbs are honoring the victims, and looking to the future.

Natalie Gladden is with Energy Staffing Services in Hobbs.

“A lot of people have come together and donated money,” Gladden said.

Hobbs business owners are raising funds and trying to boost morale today, with community members turning out for what organizers are calling the inaugural USW Golf Fund Cookout.

“Our main goal is that once we finish out the day here that we have enough money to help those families and to also put into a trust fund for scholarships in the future,” Gladden said. “That’s why we’re gonna continue this golf fund program, so we can help other kids in the future.”

Gladden said the city has never had to deal with a tragedy like this one, but she’s proud of the response.

“We’ve never had anything like this happen in our community,” Gladden said. “So it was just really important that we all come together to do what we can to make this happen for these kids.”

As a mother of two, Gladden says this loss hits close to home for her and many others.

“It could be any of our kids on a high school trip or a junior high trip somewhere for a sporting event that this could happen to,” Gladden said. “We have two daughters that are in their twenties and i couldn’t imagine what these parents are going through right now.

But the city of Hobbs and the University of the Southwest are helping them get through this tough time.

“I personally feel sad that we’re having to come together under these circumstances,” Claira Crane with Rogue Industrial Group said. “I’m proud of everybody for standing up and helping out when people need it the most.”

There are still ways you can donate to the families of those USW students. The first is by giving to the 2022 USW golf fund. You can also donate through the victims funds set up at the university’s website. There will also be a benefit tournament at Rockwind Community Links where those students played on April 9.

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