Community responds in wake of tragedy

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Members of the Elizabethton community are pulling together to help an Elizabethton family who recently experienced tragedy.
   A local business and the owner of a local sports team are preparing fundraisers in order to help the family of Kristal Gale Dubuque pay for the funeral arrangements of their loved one as well as to establish a trust fund for the infant son she left behind.
   Dubuque, 22, of 427 W. G St., Apt. 11, was found dead on the banks of the Watauga River Wednesday afternoon by two fishermen. She had been missing since Sunday night when she failed to return home from work.
   She was reported missing on Monday by her mother, Brenda Gale Gentry, 220 S. Sycamore St., and Dubuque's abandoned vehicle was found that same day underneath the Hunter Bridge with the front end of the vehicle partially in the Watauga River.
   Gentry is employed as a waitress at Dino's Restaurant, 420 E. Elk Avenue, and the owners of that restaurant -- Kent and Gayle Williams -- are in the process of setting up a trust fund with a local bank to help the family pay for the funeral expenses for Dubuque and, possibly, to establish a trust fund for Dubuque's infant son, who is approximately 18 months old.
   "We've had several people leave money here for her already," said Gayle Williams. "We have nearly $300 just from people handing us 20 or 30 dollars and saying 'This is for Gale.'"
   Gerald Williamson, owner of the local semi-professional football team, The Thunder, is making arrangements for members of the team to hold a road block fundraiser on Saturday with all of the money donated going to help Dubuque's family.
   Williamson, a friend of Dubuque and her family, said that he already has several of his football players as well as other individuals who are willing to help with the fundraiser. "We're taking just about anybody who will come out and help us," he said.
   He hopes to set up roadblocks in two locations, one on U.S. Highway 91 near the Sunoco service station and the second on Broad Street Extension in Lynn Valley.
   "The more money we can make for them the better it will be," he said.
   Individuals wishing to make monetary donations for Dubuque's family at Dino's Restaurant are asked to speak with Kent, Gayle or David Williams.