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GoFundMe pages support families of Upper Makefield’s deadly flooding


Not only did last week’s merciless flash flood take the lives of five people, with two small children still not found, it also left forever broken lives in its terrifying wake.

A GoFundMe page was recently established for James Sheils and his surviving 4-year-old son, Jack. By Friday afternoon, more than $215,000 had been raised to help the South Carolina man who lost his fiancé Katie Seley, 32, who drowned in the horrific flood. The couples’ 2-year-old daughter Matilda (Mattie) and her 9-month-old brother, Conrad, are still missing.

“As some of you may know, our family suffered a terrible tragedy this weekend,” wrote Erin Sheils Ellis on the fundraising page. “On Saturday evening, while driving to our parent’s house for a BBQ, my brother, Jim, his fiancé Katie, Katie’s mother, and Jim and Katie’s three children were caught in a sudden flash flood. Miraculously, Jim and his oldest son, Jack survived, as did Katie’s mother, Dahlia. As you can imagine, we are completely devastated.”

With the outpouring of donations for the family, came words of great sympathy, support and love.

“I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. There are no words, please know that there are many, many people thinking and praying for you,” one message read.

“I am so sorry and heartbroken for your beyond devastating loss. Donating is the least I could do. I wish I could do more or turn back time for your beautiful family. Holding you all in my heart and sending so much love now and forever,” said another.

A second GoFundMe has also been created for the family of Susan Barnhart of Titusville, N.J., who also died in the raging flood. The funds will go to help her 80-year-old mother.

Barnhart, 53, worked at the Washington Crossing Post Office and was well known to members of the Upper Makefield Township Police Department.

“We personally knew Susan Barnhart since she worked at the post office. She was always so welcoming and kind to us and we will miss her deeply,” the police department said in a statement.

“We’ve lost our dear friend and neighbor, Susan Barnhart, during the tragic flash flooding event, said Sarah Orfe, Barnhart’s next door neighbor for a decade,” on the fundraising page.

“Susan was an incredibly friendly, kind and generous person, a lover of animals, and she leaves behind, among others, her 80-year-old mother, Pat, who she has been caring for. Pat will be the recipient of your kindness and support.”

Expressions of love and grief were posted on the page, as more than $30,000 in donations were raised as of Friday afternoon.

“Susan was a long-time smiling face at the post office and she will be missed by many in our community. I fondly remember Susan going out of her way to help me and my family on multiple occasions, and I will not forget her generosity. The Taylor, Braun, and Hale families are wishing her family peace and solace in this difficult time,” read one message.

“Susan and her sweet dog always brightened my day when I made trips to the post office. I always looked forward to seeing her. She will be so sincerely missed by the whole community,” wrote another.

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