After a ‘phenomenal’ response, family can bring man’s body home from China
March 16, 2012
After appealing to the community for help, David Woolman’s family has received the donations needed to bring his body home from China.
“People have been so wonderful to us,” said Kristy Garcia of Carson City, Woolman’s aunt. “People have been so amazing, not just in the U.S., but in the U.K. and China, too.”
Woolman, 23, lived off and on in Carson City before moving to China about a year ago to teach English.
He died March 1, and the family was told it would cost $12,818 to bring his body home or it would disposed of by the Chinese government.
Desperate, the family reached out.
A story that ran March 10 in the Nevada Appeal was reposted on social networking sites and published nationwide. Bloggers as far away as Shanghai reported the story.
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Garcia said donations came in from friends locally and strangers around the globe.
“The response has been phenomenal,” she said.
FitzHenry’s Carson Valley Funeral Home donated a casket, she said, and others have donated services. American Airlines Trust Cargo offered to transport the body for half the usual cost, she said.
“(Sen.) Dean Heller’s office has been amazing,” Garcia said. “Everyone in his Reno office has been jumping through hoops to get us help.”
In China, representatives of Garcia’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been coordinating the process from there.
The details surrounding Woolman’s death remain unclear. Garcia said no death certificate has yet been issued, but they’ve heard it was a fall from a roof.
She said the family has been so caught up in arranging for his body to come home, they haven’t been able to grieve over his death. Once his body is home, they will begin searching for peace, she said.
“We’re looking forward to that day happening,” she said. “It’s really been like living in the “Twilight Zone.” You know things need to be done, but you don’t know how to do them or where to turn.”
She said she expects the body to be returned to the U.S. within two weeks. Any money left over, she said, will be donated to charity.
Although the family has hit several roadblocks along the way – including difficulty communicating with the DD Dragon School, where Woolman was employed – they’ve been buoyed by support they’ve received.
“My sister said even in death, David has taught her one final lesson,” Garcia said. “He restored her faith in humanity.”