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      Ithaca community comes together to support those impacted by Commons crash

      Behind the smiles at this summer celebration are the memories of a horrifying crash that took the life of one and the livelihoods of many.

      Hope Smith was working at Simeon's and had to be rescued when a tractor trailer slammed into the downtown restaurant, killing 27-year-old mother, Amanda Bush.

      "We are fragmented right now. We are hurting, but we are strong. Our owners are strong. We follow the leadership and we'll be back," says Smith.

      Community volunteers, including common councilor, Deb Mohlenhoff, organized the benefit at Stewart Park in Ithaca full of music, food, and fun to help those who were directly impacted, get back on their feet.

      "What we don't really know is what their needs are going to be for the future. Some of them will be out of work. Some of them have lost their businesses and are finding out what's the next piece for them," says Mohlenhoff.

      In the three and a half weeks since the crash, there have been a lot of improvements at the crash site, but it's nowhere back to normal, so many of the people who lived and worked there may be out of homes and jobs for quite some time.

      Many will always be haunted by that terrifying day, but like the foundation of the building, they are tough.

      "I would encourage people to please, please come to downtown Ithaca. Come to Aurora Street visit our restaurants because when we come back we want to come back to a thriving and vibrant Aurora Street. We don't want to come back to empty storefronts," says Smith.

      The money raised will be put into a fund that will help people pay for things like living expenses, health care, and even counseling.