Community comes together to host BBQ fundraiser for Deanna Martin's family

Community comes together to host BBQ fundraiser for Deanna Martin's family
Deanna Martin (Source: Family photo)
Deanna Martin (Source: Family photo)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Biloxi family suffered a devastating loss in September. That's when Deanna Martin suddenly passed away, leaving behind her three children. Her friends and family put together a benefit barbecue and silent auction in Jones Park to help.

"Hold your babies. Hold your family tight, and remember that tomorrow's not promised," said Amy Cruse.

When Cruse found out about her cousin's sudden passing, she knew she needed to help.

Martin was only 45 when she suffered complications from a brain aneurysm. She died after two weeks in the hospital.

She left behind her 19-year-old daughter, Holly, and her 7-year-old twins, Xander and Jagger.

"To know we're all getting together as family, as friends, as a community, I think that she is smiling down on us, definitely," said Cruse.

She decided to help by hosting a fundraiser barbecue and silent auction. People volunteered to help out in every aspect, from donating the food, to donating the auction items.

Family friend Cliff Kirkland said this is something that makes him proud to be from the Coast.

"We're all in this together. I think we'd all like to believe that if something like this happened to our family, that not only our family, but our friends and the community would respond," said Kirkland.

That response is giving Martin's mom, Dolly Lawrence, comfort to help her through this difficult time.

"They're all just willing to jump in and help people. I think it's a wonderful place to be," said Lawrence.

One of the people willing to jump in and help was John Carter. His smoker made the barbecue a success. He said it's something he felt he needed to do.

"If you have the means to do it, you have to do something like that. Just pay it forward," said Carter.

If you would like to help the Martin family, there is an account at Hancock Bank in Deanna Martin's name. There is also a GoFundMe account at


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