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Fundraiser created for Grand Island couple who lost everything in a fire the day before Easter

After 30 years of raising a family and making happy memories in a home they cherished, a Grand Island couple must start over as they lost everything in a house fire the day before Easter. Family and friends are now asking for the community's support to help them get back on their feet.

Easter Sunday is supposed to be a time to celebrate with friends and family, but for one local couple it was their worst nightmare.

Jerry and Donna Tutwiler lost their home on Fix Road in Grand Island to a devastating fire, a home where they raised their family and had a beautiful life for the past 30 years.

“Within those walls, there was so much love, laughter and memories that will last them a lifetime,” said David Thomas, nephew. “Those memories will live on even after losing nearly all physical remnants and belongings.

Jerry was outside doing yard work when he saw the fire start, but was unable to contain it. It turned out to be an electrical fire and Donna was able to get out in time. They lost everything except a few family photos that were in the basement.

Jerry was a physical education teacher and coach for many years at Kenmore West High School. He currently drives a school bus for elementary school children in Grand Island. Thomas said those who know his aunt and uncle know that they would never ask for any help on their own, which is why he created a GoFundMe page on behalf of them.

“Reality is, it will be a long time before their home can be rebuilt and belongings can begin to be replaced. In the mean time, they have nothing, other the love and support from family and friends. It will be a long struggle. For all the lives that have been touched by the Tutwiler’s over the years, they would never ask for any type of repayment, but I can ensure you that any little bit would help at this time and all would be very much appreciated. On behalf of their family, I can extend a thank you all for the words of encouragement and support.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Tutwilers, visit

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