SFA alum helping care for children who lost parents in Texas wreck

Berry family photo source: ABCNews.com.
Berry family photo source: ABCNews.com.
Tessa Gerall photo source: MySpace
Tessa Gerall photo source: MySpace

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The blessings of true friends can continue, even after one of the friends dies and another is miles away.

A recent Stephen F. Austin State University graduate is helping take care of her best friend's three children. They were seriously injured in a two-car collision which killed both of their parents.

Another friend is spreading the word of the young woman's unselfish actions.

A picture perfect family comes to an abrupt end on a West Texas highway. While on their way home to Houston from a Colorado vacation, Robin and Joshua berry and their three children, Peter, Aaron and Willa were met head-on by another vehicle.

"Robin died on impact. And Joshua, the husband, died later. Peter and Aaron are now paralyzed from the waist down," shared Samantha Emerson, a SFA student.

Emerson only knows the family through web postings placed there by her good friend, Tessa Gerall.

"Robin and Josh meant the world to me," said Gerall by telephone from the Chicago Shriner's Hospital.

She's there with the children who adore her.

"The kids have always considered me like their big sister," said Gerall.

The bond is so secure the former SFA homecoming queen was asked by the child's aunt and uncle, now their guardians, to assist the boys as they recuperate.

"I'm just trying to make sure we filled everything and there's a lot to do. We're doing okay," said Matthew Berry.

Thanks, in part to Tessa's support. She's almost always with the boys. Even gets in a wheelchair to better play with them. This doesn't surprise her friend.

"You need to be cheered up, you go to Tessa first because Tessa has such a positive attitude and such an awesome energy about her, so she's so selfless," described Emerson.

At 23, the young graduate had plans of her own, but does anyone really know what the future holds.

"Everyone looks at it like I'm doing something huge, but all I can say, is I can't imagine not doing this," said Gerall.

Others are helping too. The Houston Rockets, celebrities, the world, and families are offering support.

"The Facebook page, I look at it daily, and there's always new events in Texas and the East Texas area, even nation wide people are doing things," said Emerson.

Prayers and miracles will direct the boy's future. One things certain, Tessa has their back.

"Like a guardian angel to them," believes Emerson.

Tessa says she's been asked to live with the Berry family when the boys return to Houston in September.

Join the likes of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry in supporting the Berry kids.

Donations can be made at www.showyourhearts.org

Earlier Today:

An SFA alumna is helping take care of three children who have caught national attention after they were seriously injured in a two-car collision which killed both of their parents.

Tessa Gerall, 23, of Houston, graduated in 2010. She was involved in the school's Driving Jacks program and was homecoming queen in the fall of 2010.

Gerall was a close friend Robin Berry, who died in the wreck. Berry family relatives have asked her to assist the children as they recuperate in a Chicago hospital and make the transition to living with new guardians, according to Samantha Emerson, a friend of Gerall's.

The Berry family was driving back to Texas on July 2, after vacationing in Colorado Springs, Colo., when they were met head-on by another vehicle, according to ABCNews.com.

Joshua and Robin Berry died at the scene, and two of the children, Peter, 9, and Aaron, 8, are being treated for multiple spinal injuries at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago. They will remain hospitalized until mid-September, according to ABC. Willa Berry, 6, broke her arm, ankle, knee and wrist in the crash.

Several celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Sean Combs have called for support for the children as they face sky-high medical bills.

Those interested in helping the Berry family can do so by go to this website.

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