The family of a gas-and-dash victim is feeling grateful and thankful after community members came together to renovate the family business.
The Thorsby Fas Gas is looking refreshed, said Sung Hyun Jo on Saturday, after a new paint job, new roof and new furnace and hot water tank were installed. An open house and BBQ fundraiser were held to show off the business’s new look.
Sung Hyun is the son of Ki Yun Jo, the 54-year-old gas station owner killed in Oct. 2017 after a gas and dash. A suspect, Mitchell Robert Sydlowski, was arrested at the end of May in relation to the incident.
He has been charged with second-degree murder, failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing death, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and theft under $5,000.
When Rhonda Fiveland heard the news of Ki Yun Jo’s death last year, the local contractor said she wanted to do something. Fiveland had met Ki Yun years earlier when he asked for an estimate on a paint job.
Fiveland said she felt compelled to paint the gas station for free and asked other local businesses to lend a hand. Soon, there were offers of help for major renovations on the gas station.
“Elated,” Fiveland said on Saturday, when asked to reflect on the generosity.
“I knew that if I started this, people would jump on board. I just did not anticipate the magnitude so it’s been humbling and beautiful.”
She estimates the renovations at roughly $35,000.
“No words can explain our feelings,” said Sung Hyun.
“It’s amazing how people can come together and give a huge support for one family. I’m just truly grateful.”
Dozens of people came out for the event, many of whom stopped to greet and chat with Sung Hyun, his sister and his mother.
“Our family is more relieved now [that] there aren’t that many problems to be dealt with. I think we’re just starting to realize this is an actual new beginning for our family and we’re preparing for it,” Sung Hyun said.
The event in Thorsby comes a week-and-a-half after the province passed pay-before-you-pump legislation, which requires drivers to pay before filling up at gas stations and makes violence-prevention plans mandatory at retail fuel and convenience stores.
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