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$21K raised for two Santee couples who lost homes in plane crash

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 20:48:49-05

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) – The owners of a Wendy's restaurant in Santee donated more than $21,000 to two couples who lost their homes last month.

The money was collected during a fundraiser on October 26 for Phil and Maria Morris and Cody and Courtney Campbell, whose homes were destroyed when a plane crashed on Greencastle and Jeremy Streets in October.

"We're thrilled to give you guys this check from everyone," said Wendy's family owner, Brian Spongberg, as he handed over the check.

Spongberg says the idea came up after the plane crash when a manager at the location at 9655 Mission Gorge Rd. wanted to do something to help.

"It all started when our general manager Oscar Martinez called and said, 'hey, this just happened really close to our restaurant. Can we do something to help out?" said Spongberg.

"We were shocked we did not expect to have 50 plus cars in the drive-thru."

Hundreds of people showed up to pitch in and people crowded inside of the restaurant dining room as well.

"It's super heartwarming to see how the community overwhelming came out to support us and the Morris family," said Cody Campbell.

"There's not enough words for us to express how thankful we are to everything everyone has done to help out both families towards the road to recovery."

The son of Maria Morris, Jimmy Slaff-Gruel, accepted the check on his mother's behalf Friday. She and her husband suffered severe burns before getting out of their home after the crash.

Maria Morris has been released from the hospital and is now recovering at her son's home.

"Each day, she's starting to do more and more things for herself," said Slaff-Gruel.

"Phil, on the other hand, he's still in the intensive care unit and on a ventilator."

He said Phil Morris is currently stable but has had about five surgeries and will likely need more. He said the money they received would be a big help.

"It will pay for a lot of their medical bills," said Slaff-Gruel.

The Campbells say their decision to rebuild their home in the exact location was easy to make after seeing neighbors lending a hand as they were struggling.

"It just reiterated that we chose the right place, and we want to make our way back there," said Courtney Campbell.