How to help
Donations to help the Perez family may be made through a GoFundMe page or the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund/Elizabeth Alvarez-Perez at First Baptist Church, 751 Green St. NW, Gainesville, GA 30501.
Hearts continue to be moved and donations keep coming in to help a close-knit family that suffered the death of one and injuries to three others last week in a car wreck.
A single mother — 44-year-old Elizabeth Alvarez-Perez — remains unconscious and is fighting for her life following the crash that killed her son, 19-year-old Jesus Perez, who was buried in Dahlonega on Tuesday.
Another son, 14-year-old Matthew Perez, who is a junior varsity football player at Gainesville High School, has been discharged from the hospital. His sister, 16-year-old Stephanie — a member of the Gainesville High band — is also improving but remains remains hospitalized with two broken legs, a broken jaw and other injuries.
GSP Cpl. Jonathan Munger said Jonathan Flanagan, 22, of Dahlonega was driving north on Thompson Bridge Road/Ga. 60 near Price Road on Dec. 6 at the time of the wreck. Munger said Flanagan was driving too fast for the wet conditions. A message left with state patrol checking on Flanagan’s status was not returned Tuesday night. He was originally taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, with authorities saying he would be taken to Hall County Jail upon his release from the hospital.
Dr. Misty Caudell and the staff at Georgia Skin Center, 1250 Jesse Jewell Parkway SE, spearheaded a GoFundMe account after they learned that Elizabeth Alvarez-Perez — the Skin Center’s receptionist — and her children had been injured.
Amanda Sheidy Haney, an assistant with Dr. Caudell, said they closed the office and rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center to be with their colleague and pray for her and her family.
“She always had a smile, and her cup was half full all the time,” Haney said of her co-worker. “She’s the kind of person who would give the shirt off her back to help someone.”
Colleagues have set a goal of $100,000 for the Perez family. More than $23,000 has been raised in less than a week.
Gainesville High students and faculty also have rallied support for the Perez family. Carden Smith, a 17-year old sophomore at the school, has been on the football practice field with Matthew Perez, has known Stephanie since the eighth grade and has the utmost respect and admiration for their mother.
“When I first learned about (the accident) I just froze,” Smith said. “Knowing the family and the mother Elizabeth, and how much she does for people, it was really tough.”
Smith said students and teachers got together and decided that they would not just stick together, but also stick together with the Perez family.
“We got together and started praying for them,” Smith said.
Gainesville High will be promoting a Chick-fil-A Spirit Night in January to benefit the family, as well.
“So far I’m amazed how the whole school has gotten involved,” Smith said. “This is finals week and it’s do or die for a lot of students, but they are coming up to us asking ‘what can we do?’”