CAMERON, Texas — Hundreds of community members gathered in Cameron on Sunday for a fundraiser benefiting the children of a beloved game warden that lost his life on Thursday.
Sgt. Chris Wilson of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department died of COVID-19 complications on Thursday in Temple. Wilson had also appeared on the Animal Planet show “Lone Star Law."
The barbecue fundraiser, planned by coaches from the Yoe Summer Baseball League, was scheduled to help Wilson's children with back-to-school costs even before his death. After his passing on Thursday, more and more began to want to contribute to the event.
“These four right here. This is what it’s about," said John Anderle, Wilson's friend, as he gestured to Wilson's children. "Momma Holly’s doing everything she can do. Warren’s overseeing everything Warren can see. Like I said yesterday, top notch family.”
Volunteers packed up the barbecue, sliced some cake, and handed out the boxes. Each time, a $10 donation helping out the family little by little.
The family was struck with loss multiple times this week. Wilson’s mother passed away just days before him, unrelated to COVID-19.
“They lost their grandmother and their dad within 36 hours of each other," said Warren Rinn, Wilson's father. "So we have a lot of things in the future that we have to work on as far as grief."
Between the food, music and auctions, the fundraiser brought in tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, the silent and live auctions alone brought in nearly $70,000.
“At first we were just trying to figure out how we were gonna get it done," Anderle said. "In a matter of time, we had people going to three different towns to hit restaurant supply and grocery stores to get everything we needed.”
It was an incredible show of support for a family known for giving to the community.
“All I can say is thank you very much to the people out there—to Yoe Nation, Yoe High School, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the city of Cameron and Milam County," Rinn said. "I couldn't have had a better response."
If you would like to help support the Wilson family, you can donate for the children at Buckholts State Bank in Cameron. It is under "Wilson Children Benefit Custodial Account."