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Benefit to support Fleming family attracts 700 to 800 people

Taylor Howard, left, and Gia Vassallo, both 10, leave a message for the Fleming family in a book of photos at the TayStrong benefit held at Drivers Village Sunday, March 18. The benefit raised money for the family of Taylor Fleming, who died of injuries sustained in a car accident in December.

Taylor Howard, left, and Gia Vassallo, both 10, leave a message for the Fleming family in a book of photos at the TayStrong benefit held at Drivers Village Sunday, March 18. The benefit raised money for the family of Taylor Fleming, who died of injuries sustained in a car accident in December.

— “We’re still surprised to hear from different individuals. We keep getting comments from people who met her once who’ll say she influenced them or they remember something she did, and we wanted to have those memories of her so that we could read them,” Guido said. “We want to continue to hear those stories about her.”

Guido said Taylor’s immediate family — father Dan and mother Michelle, and four sisters, Kayleigh, Jordan, Schuyler and Reilley — was moved by the display of affection for Taylor.

“They said it was such a beautiful tribute to her life,” Guido said. “They were amazed with the love and support everyone gave them. They said it was a very nice tribute to her.”

Guido said it was too early to determine how much money was raised at the event.

“I have no idea yet,” he said. “We didn’t charge a whole lot for things. We ended up lowering the price for tickets at the door; we charged $10 instead of the $15. We didn’t end up raising as much as I think people would think, with the number of people we had. Everything was pretty cheap. We didn’t want people to think we were taking advantage of them.”

He also said the money wasn’t the most important part of the day.

“You know, we wanted to raise money, but it wasn’t all about money,” Guido said. “We wanted to give [the family] a little bit to pay for their expenses, but it was more about a celebration of Taylor’s life.”

Now that the event is over, Guido, the Flemings and the rest of the family want to express their extreme gratitude to the community for everything they’ve done.

“There’s just no way to thank everybody for everything they’ve done for us,” Guido said. “We don’t even know how to begin. There’s been so much support from the community, from businesses, from individual families – it’s crazy how much support and love we’ve received. We don’t know how to even begin to thank everyone.”

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