SHOW LOW — The Rawlings family of Lakeside attended the Show Low City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7 to formally thank the White Mountain community that supported them since suffering the tragic loss of their two youngest children.

On Nov. 29, nine members of the family were in a vehicle that took on floodwater at the Bar X Crossing of Tonto Creek near Tonto Basin. Five-year old Colby and six-year old Willa Rawlings and five-year old cousin, Austin Rawlings were drowned in the floodwaters.

On Nov. 30, the bodies of Colby and Austin Rawlings were found by search teams. The search continued until Willa’s body was recovered on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.

Since the accident, people across the state, especially in the White Mountains have tried to ease their burden of loss through thoughts, prayers, signage and simple acts of compassion.

On Tuesday evening, Daniel Rawlings stood before the Show Low City Council and read a letter of thanks, formally and genuinely recognizing the community that has embraced them, supported them and shown them such unconditional love in a time of unimaginable grief.

“It is a true honor to live here in the White Mountains and in this city that I have been able to be a part of for quite some time,” began Daniel Rawlings. “I’ve written some words down because I’m not sure I’ll be able to express and get through it if I’m not able to read it so if you could please bear with me.”

Daniel read: ”As many of you know, my name is Daniel Rawlings. I am here this evening with gratitude in my heart. I’d like to take a moment of your time to thank this great community which my family and I am honored to be a part of.

In our time of need, many people, churches and businesses stepped up in our time of need to help us carry the burden so we didn’t have to do it alone.

We have felt the prayers offered on our behalf — have been able to see the tender mercies of service given. We would like to say thank you.

And as I feel ‘thank you’ is not enough to express the love shown to me and my family, it is all I have to offer.

For all those who gave of their time to join in the search for precious Willa, for those that prepared meals, for those that raised funds, both businesses and personal individuals, for those that welcomed us back home while standing in the freezing cold, to those who gave freely of their time and talents, we say thank you and may God bless you. Thank you for your time.”

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Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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