As you may have heard, a plane crashed into a house in Gaithersburg, Maryland killing the three occupants on board the plans as well as three people inside of the house - a mother and her two young children. The father of the children and another child weren't home when this happened, and it has come to our attention that he is a member of D.C. United's Screaming Eagles Supporter's Group.
Our hearts and prayers go out to not only Mr. Gemmell and his family, but the Screaming Eagles and extended D.C. United family as well. When Sons of Ben and Bearfight Brigade member Eric Shertz passed away back in April, the Screaming Eagles were quick to reach out to offer condolences and worked with the Sons of Ben and Bearfight Brigade to hold a memorial tailgate before the D.C. United - Philadelphia Union match at PPL Park.
I've reached out to the Screaming Eagles about ways to donate and help. They posted this on twitter:
This game, this community is amazing.Thanks to all from near and far expressing prayers and support.(1/2)— ScreamingEagles (@ScreamingEagles) December 9, 2014
Some have asked how to help, when such info becomes available, we'll surely pass it on (2/2)— ScreamingEagles (@ScreamingEagles) December 9, 2014
I've also reached out to the Sons of Ben and Bearfight Brigade, who have promised to keep me in the loop about any fundraising they're going to do for Mr. Gemmell - we'll post whatever we know when we know it.
On a personal note, this is absolutely heartbreaking. When I first heard the story, naturally I thought back to Eric and how painful it was for myself and the Union soccer family. We all know how much pain the D.C. soccer family must be feeling right now. I also thought about how kind and compassionate the United fans were toward us. I'll never forget the tailgate - my son and I standing behind a guy and his son, both of them decked out in black and red. We smiled, exchanged pleasantries, and I thanked them for coming. What was once just a faceless crowd to shout things at was suddenly and instantly human. I think that's what makes this so difficult. That could be any of us.
Soccer is still very much a small community here in the United States, and when something happens to our citizens, it effects all of us.
Update: The Screaming Eagles posted a link for donations here. I would urge those who can give to please do so.