GEISMAR — Amber Roussel left behind two young children, but her friends and family members — and even strangers who didn’t know Roussel — are trying to make sure her kids are provided for.
Roussel, 31, died around 4 p.m. Monday during a traffic accident on Interstate 10 in Beaumont, Texas.
The vehicle in which Roussel and her husband, Ryan, were traveling was struck by the bumper of a truck that had crashed on the interstate, The Beaumont Enterprise reported.
The couple was headed to Houston when the accident occurred.
Ryan Roussel suffered only minor injuries, but his wife was killed almost instantly, leaving behind two toddlers, 3-year-old Emmie and 1-year-old Ryan Jr.
Timmy Roussel, the St. James Parish president and Amber Roussel’s father-in-law, said his daughter-in-law was “one of the sweetest, most caring people I knew.”
“I never, ever witnessed her raising her temper,” he said. “She always tried to manage situations, always tried to be the peacemaker. She was that kind of person.”
He told about the “gigantic outpouring of support” that the family has received since Amber Roussel’s death, including a resolution of condolence by the St. James Parish Council, which he said was very thoughtful.
A group of Amber’s friends started an online memorial fund the day after her death, with a modest goal of raising $3,000. Less than 24 hours later, more than $38,000 had been raised, Timmy Roussel said.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 2,000 people had donated more than $45,000 to the memorial fund. Donations will continue to be accepted until Aug. 14, he said.
Many of the donations came after the memorial fund was linked to the Facebook page of Matilda Jane Clothing, a children’s clothing company based in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Facebook post called Amber Roussel a “loyal customer” and asked its more than 50,000 fans to reach out and help the family.
Denise Dana DeMarchis, founder and owner of Matilda Jane Clothing, wrote about Roussel’s death on her company’s blog.
“Amber was a strong presence in the Matilda Jane community,” DeMarchis wrote. “When I see her face, I feel like I know her.
“And when I read about the accident I felt like I was hit by a ton of bricks.”
Timmy Roussel, who helped his son bury Amber on Friday, said the support from the Matilda Jane community has been overwhelming.
“I just think that’s amazing,” he said.
The money will be used to help care for the young children. Ryan Roussel traveled often in connection with his work, while Amber stayed at home and raised the kids.
Timmy Roussel said his son would be in for a rough transition as a single dad, but he won’t have to go it alone.
“We’ll be there for him to help him make it through this,” Timmy Roussel said.
ä ON THE INTERNET: