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Plymouth community steps in to help Winamac after deadly school bus crash

Plymouth community steps in to help Winamac after deadly school bus crash. // WSBT 22 photo

UPDATE: We're told the funeral services of Owen Abbott will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11 at the Winamac Church of the Heartland.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. on Monday, December 10 at the Winamac Church of the Heartland, as well as two hours prior to services at the church Tuesday.

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A community is coming together to remember 13-year-old Owen Abbott.

He was killed Wednesday when his school bus was hit by a truck on U.S. 31.

WSBT 22 has team coverage of the community response to this tragedy. We spoke to some of those who came to help immediately after the crash.

The Winamac community has received help from all over the area.

The Winamac superintendent is specifically thanking those in the town of Plymouth for stepping in during the most critical moments.

When tragedy struck students from Winamac Middle School, the eighth graders weren't in their home town.

But when the students arrived at Plymouth Medical Center, they weren't alone. A team of counselors from Plymouth Community Schools was ready to help.

“You go into your training and you do what you need to do,” said Aimee Portteus, Plymouth Community Schools director of guidance. “I think we were all pretty physically and emotionally drained at the end of the day, but again honored and grateful that we were able to be there.”

The counselors helped the students reunite with their parents and helped calm students down that had to be treated. Portteus says this is just what people in Plymouth do.

“This is my hometown I grew up here,” said Portteus. “This has always been a place where people love each other. We take care of each other. I think it was just natural for us to say there’s a need and we’re stepping in.”

Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter posted on Facebook saying just how proud he is of everyone in town. He saw first-hand how everything was handled at the hospital.

“I got emotional there because there were so many people running around,” said Senter. “They knew exactly what they were doing. I did not expect what I saw. I was blown away by it, just the work that everybody was doing.”

As both communities work to move forward, Portteus has advice for parents everywhere.

“Hug your kids. Hug your kids and be grateful that they are healthy and happy and whole,” said Portteus. “We will have some students that are scared and have a lot of questions. You just have to walk with them and sit with them in their pain right now.”

Winamac Superintendent Dan Foster says he can't thank Plymouth enough for their support.

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