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Huntsville church looking to help Oakwood University students after fiery bus crash in San Francisco

Lowe's Chapel in Huntsville is less than 1.5 miles away from the Oakwood University campus. Church members discussed different options for how they can help their neighbors.

Posted: May 7, 2019 4:29 PM
Updated: May 7, 2019 6:09 PM

The Oakwood University choir is scheduled to arrive back in Huntsville late Tuesday night following a devastating event while on the road.

The award-winning choir group called "The Aeolians" and staff members were involved in a fiery bus crash in San Francisco that killed a driver in another vehicle. 

Now, the community is looking to help. Lowe's Chapel in Huntsville is less than 1.5 miles away from the Oakwood University campus. Church members discussed different options for how they can help their neighbors. 

Senior Pastor Waymond Smith called the deadly crash, horrific. 

"And then you see a bus that's on fire, you don't know whether the people on the bus have gotten off that bus or if they are being burned alive," Smith said. 

Kenneth Bishop, 51, from San Mateo, died. Bishop's 15-year-old daughter, Iyanna, spoke with our ABC affiliate, KGO, in San Francisco. She said the group sang to her and tried to make a heroic rescue.

"I'd like to say thank you to the Aeolians for, you know, trying to get my dad out of the car before it burned," Bishop said. "I felt like my dad was in the room when they were singing for me."

Pastor Smith says he wants to help everyone involved. On Sunday, which is Mother's Day, he plans to take up a love-offering during worship service.

"That money will be ear-marked as specifically given to the Oakwood fund," Smith said. 

Oakwood University tells WAAY 31 they are shifting their focus to helping the Bishop family. It's why Smith wants to raise money for the school fund. He says the Bishop family may be in California, but Huntsville is here to help. You can donate here.

"We want to let his family know and the other families that were impacted by the accident that, now, we're checking on you...You're family now," Smith said. 

The university says some of the choir won't be back on campus when they return, because classes are over for the summer. Counselors and church leaders are prepared to work with the students.

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