Community character on display after car accident

One important measure of a community is how well it helps its people in times of need.

Based on the support given to the family of Josh Speidel, the caring and generosity demonstrated speaks well of Bartholomew County residents’ ability to rally support.

Ever since Speidel, a senior standout on the Columbus North varsity basketball squad, was injured in a car accident Feb. 1, a tremendous outpouring of concern and help has followed. Assistance has come in various forms and from people of all ages.

Classmate Keirsten White, for example, felt moved to do something to help her fellow senior, so the morning after the accident she created a fundraiser on the online site to assist the family. More than 480 people have donated and raised more than $54,000.

But there’s more.

The day after the accident, students at North and East high schools wrote messages of support to Speidel.

North’s athletic department has been selling T-shirts with the #JoshStrong logo on them, with his No. 32 on the back. The proceeds go to the family.

People came in force for a spaghetti fundraiser dinner before North’s home game Feb. 3 against Hamilton Southeastern. It raised $8,601.

The North and Hauser girls basketball teams seized an opportunity to fill holes in their schedules with a benefit game Feb. 7. All proceeds raised were to benefit the Speidel family. After the game, players from both teams wore the #JoshStrong T-shirts, met at the center of North’s court, locked hands and prayed for Speidel.

The Community Church of Columbus has been collecting gas cards to give to the family to offset fuel costs of traveling back and forth between Columbus and Indianapolis, where Speidel has been receiving medical attention.

Family friends and Speidel’s teammates also have driven to Indianapolis to provide comfort and support.

The Speidel family has stated that this outpouring of assistance has been a great help during a difficult time.

Having residents — including many you don’t know well, or at all — pitch in reveals a lot about the hearts of people and the community’s soul.