A community in mourning
The Gervais community is rallying in support of a local family who lost a child following a violent crime that led to the arrest of a Woodburn man.
A GoFundMe page set up by Darrell Geymann was established to help the Taylor family, whose child Oliver Taylor, 17, succumbed to injuries sustained in an alleged May 12 kidnapping and shooting.
The Taylor family posted a tribute to their child — who was previously known as 'Molly' and used the pronouns he and him — on social media May 19.
"Molly 'Ollie' was granted her final desire of donating organs. We appreciate the prayers, meals, phone calls, and other messages of support.
"Molly/Ollie is such an amazing child with a quirky sense of humor, who impacted so many people, and we will miss her terribly as we try to move forward, but we are comforted by the knowledge that we will be with her again someday."
Taylor was a student at Gervais High School and involved in a variety of activities, including FFA and track and field.
Gervais FFA advisor Megan Dilson remembered Taylor as "an exuberant ball of energy who constantly put others needs before his own.
"He was first on the scene for the fires this past summer and was part of our livestock evacuation crew, caring for and making sure the animals were taken care of. He loved showing his sheep through our FFA Program and proudly walked them around the town of Gervais and even inside the school to visit with our staff. "
The family post continued:
"It is her/his desire that as people move through the grieving process, that they do not allow their hearts to dwell on thoughts of anger, but to channel that time and energy into helping those around you ... Having her/him in our family was one of the greatest honors in our life."
A candlelight vigil was held on May 20 on the Gervais High School lawn, where dozens of friends, family, classmates and community members gathered to share their memories of Taylor's life, his passion for the FFA program an animals, his bubbly energy, his sense of humor and his love of working with younger children.
According to police reports, Gervais Police Department responded to a reported disturbance on the 1000 block of Depot Court at about 3:45 p.m. May 12 and found 22-year-old Gervais resident Arik Reed with a gunshot wound. Officers then learned Kenneth Williams Peden III, allegedly kidnapped a 17-year-old after the shooting and fled in a white Ford F-150.
Reed was transported to an area hospital where he is currently recovering from the gunshot wound.
Subsequent developments on May 12 involved Silverton Police and Marion County Sheriff's deputies pursuing the pickup truck through and outside Silverton on Highway 214 and police reports of shots being fired in their direction.
Police arrested Peden, 20, of Woodburn, in connection with the events, and Taylor was discovered to have critical injuries and taken by Life Flight to a hospital. Charges against Peden include multiple counts of attempted murder, kidnapping and attempting to elude police.
Dilson said Taylor excelled in veterinary and animal science and talked about aspirations of becoming a vet.
"Most of our Gervais FFA Alumni knew Ollie through late nights driving tractor at Oktoberfest and summer days at The Great Oregon Steam Up where he donated countless hours as a courtesy volunteer," Dilson said. "Oliver was also a favorite for children at our annual FFA Pumpkin Patch where students dress up and Gervais elementary kids would come pick out pumpkins to take home.
"We will miss the random quotes, doodles, and dance moves that Ollie spouted off leaving us all laughing our heads off."
Geymann created the GoFundMe page to help the Taylor family with medical expenses and healing. The page states:
"The Taylor family has experienced a serious medical emergency with one of their children, which required LifeFlight and several days of ICU. As you can imagine this has been a very difficult time for all of them and hopefully this in some small way will help ease their worries. If your are able to help out the Taylor family it would be greatly appreciated."
Visit the page at: gofund.me/948e9195.
The Taylor family is planning a celebration of life, likely to take place sometime in June.
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