Vigil set for Western Pa. native still missing in Washington state landslide
Briana Elias and Daja Lee Durkacs still hope a former Chartiers-Houston classmate and his young children will be found alive despite a landslide that devastated their neighborhood in Washington state.
Now they are giving other supporters of Billy Spillers' family a chance to share their faith. The women and two friends have scheduled a candlelight vigil for 8 p.m. Friday at the football field at Chartiers-Houston Junior-Senior High School.
Spillers, 30, formerly of Canonsburg, played football and basketball at the Washington County school and graduated in 2001.
“He's a great guy. He would give you the shirt off his back,” said Elias, 30, of Canonsburg, Spillers' high school sweetheart. “He would be so grateful that people from his hometown are getting together to show support for him and his family.”
She said the vigil will include a fundraising collection for the Spillerses, who lost their house in the landslide on Saturday in Oso, Wash. Billy Spillers was at home with his four children.
He and three of the children — Jovon Mangual, 13, Kaylee Spillers, 5, and Brook Spillers, 2 — are among 176 people reported missing in the aftermath of the disaster about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. Emergency responders listed the death toll at 24 as search-and-rescue efforts continued.
Rescuers pulled Spillers' son, Jacob, 4, from the mud and debris on Saturday. His wife, Jonielle Spillers, was working when the landslide hit, said Durkacs, 30, of Chartiers.
She said Billy Spillers, a command career counselor for the Navy, has “the biggest heart of anybody you know.”
“I don't think I've ever heard him say no,” said Durkacs, who identified the other vigil organizers as Crystal Martincic, 32, of Houston and Tiffany Hinerman, 32, of Washington.
The group has ordered 200 candles for the gathering and expects a pastor and friends of Billy Spillers will speak there.
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com.