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You did it! Simpson home goal reached in 3 weeks

STORY BY MEG LAUGHLIN (Week of October 3, 2013)
Photo: A happy Kristen Simpson unpacks boxes she had readied for moving out of repossessed Fiddlewood home.

Great news! Chase Bank has accepted the $220,000 raised by the 32963 Simpson Home Fund, which means that Kristen, Samantha and Scott Simpson will remain in their Central Beach home.

On Sept. 25th, attorney Brian Connelly, who was a close friend of Brian Simpson’s, sent word to Vero Beach 32963 that bank had officially agreed to accept $220,000 as payment in full of the outstanding mortgages and that the home would soon belong to the Simpson family.

Thanks to the donations of more than 170 generous Vero Beach 32963 readers, the fund had $244,195 in it as of Sept. 30th.

With the goal reached, contributions to help the Simpsons keep their Fiddlewood home are no longer needed. 

“This amazing outpouring of support by 32963 readers has left us breathless,” said Publisher Milton R. Benjamin.  “We thought it might take several months to raise the needed funds, and the goal was reached in just over three weeks.  This really is a very special community.”

A few days ago, Kristen Simpson – who had long resisted getting her hopes up – began unpacking boxes.

In an email Monday to Vero Beach 32963, she said:

 “I have felt very blessed by all of the caring, helpful people in my life, since the day that we lost Brian. I appreciate how each person in his or her own way has influenced me to keep moving forward despite this true misery.

“Without all of those constant reminders of the good in this world, I know that I would have given up.  But this new unbelievably generous offering from the community has taught me to be even stronger. Not only do I believe that anything is possible with the hearts of good people, I want to be better than a survivor of each day, I want to live each day.

“A huge burden has been lifted, one I had prepared myself to deal with, but was horrified over the ultimate outcome.

“I am not scared anymore. I am thrilled to be alive and so proud to call this my home.”

Almost two years ago, Kristen Simpson’s world collapsed when her husband Brian, the children’s father, was shot to death in the home by a burglar. Along with the loss of her beloved husband, she faced the loss of the family home because she couldn’t afford the mortgage payments on her teacher’s salary.

She and Samantha, 17, and Scott,16, had begun packing boxes to move to a small apartment when Vero Beach 32963 told readers about the impending loss of the home. In response, readers asked what they could do to save the home, and the 32963 Simpson Home Fund was born.

Repeatedly, those who contributed said they couldn’t stand to sit by and do nothing, in the face of such loss and sadness. They also said they liked knowing exactly where the money was going and exactly what difference it would make.

As one contributor put it: “We want to turn a house that was a monument to tragedy into a symbol of the love so many of us feel for the Simpson family. We want to drive by that house and feel proud and warmed by it, not chilled.”

Donations began with a $5,000 contribution from Vero Beach 32963, and continued with contributions ranging in size from $10 to $20,000. The funds are being held in a Marine Bank account overseen by Rehmann accountant Clay Price, with help from his administrative assistant Dave Whitney.

The paperwork involved in concluding this transaction is expected to take a few more weeks.

Once the deed has been turned over to Kristen and associated costs have been paid, any overage in the fund will be returned to contributors based on the percentage of the amount that each contributed.