Tia Longmire has been in the hospital in critical condition since Sept. 17, but her family says the outpouring from the community has kept them going in their darkest hours.
“Tia’s condition is stable but critical – she still remains in a coma,” her grandfather, Pete Longmire, told The Press this week. “The doctors are happy about her stabilizing now. They’re going slow with treatment measures, so they don’t make her unstable. She has very serious traumatic brain injuries and multiple fractures throughout her body.”
The morning of Sept. 17, Tia, an 11-year-old student at Edna Hill Middle School, was crossing the road with her little sister Nichole when she was hit by a Nissan Altima traveling eastbound on Balfour Road. Airlifted to UC Davis, Tia has been in critical condition ever since.
The driver of the Altima was reported to have been cooperating with officials at the time of the accident.
“We’ve been praying hard and then praying harder still,” Longmire said. “Obviously, it’s very stressful to see our baby in that condition, but we’re just grateful she’s still with us and she’s stabilizing. The team (at Davis), I just can’t say enough about them, and the community outreach has been incredible.”
Longmire described countless messages and postings of support along with fundraising efforts from complete strangers. As the current City of Pittsburg mayor, he’s been actively involved in East County through law enforcement, business and politics within his community but said outreach, generosity, prayers and effort in the wake of this accident have been unparalleled.
“It’s been incredible, and that’s why we developed the Facebook page to keep the community informed,” he said. “Being in a situation like this, I’ve never seen it at this level – a lot of people care, they just care, and they want to do something to help Tia, to help the family and the little sister who was right there and witnessed everything.”
Longmire described 10-year-old Nichole’s proactive and confident manner during the Sept. 17 incident that he believed most adults wouldn’t possess in the given emergency.
“We’re just so proud of (Nichole),” he said. “She wrote a story and passed it over to her stepmom and dad, and I read it and tears came to my eyes when she wrote about what happened – what she did – and it was just touching.”
In addition to GoFundMe page creation, the community has stepped up in unexpected ways to help. Dutch Bros. in Oakley recently hosted a fundraiser Sunday, Sept. 23, and Longmire was present to thank customers who went through the drive-thru coffee stand in a show of support for Tia and the family.
“It was remarkable, but it was also very tough, being there and seeing the kindness and generosity,” Longmire said. “It was really hard to keep it together … That support we’re getting, it really goes a long way. We feel it and we draw from that – those positive thoughts and energy – and we can’t get enough thanks to enough people who have taken the time and given of themselves.”
Another community business owner devoted her time and finances to the family in the form of cookies. Meagan Garcia, a licensed baker and owner of Meagan’s One Smart Cookie, took it upon herself to make 220 cookies, set up a stand at Tractor Supply and sell them, giving 100 percent of the proceeds to Tia’s parents. Students at Adams Middle School also created a colliage with Tia in mind and shared it on the Facebook page, Team Tia Longmire. The list goes on.
“From Tia’s mother’s side to Tia’s father’s side – all sides of the family – we are beyond appreciative for everything that everyone has done, from the community to family and friends to the school and all the way up to the principal, who has come to visit Tia, to Dutch Bros. to Meagan Garcia to the Villas Tacos, who’s doing a fundraiser Thursday, we are just so moved by the amount of compassion and generosity by so many people,” said Tia’s aunt, Angela Combs. “It’s heartwarming to know the community is rallying to do everything they can. We can not begin to tell you guys how much we appreciate it.”
Campos will hold a benefit concert for the family Nov. 9, with doors opening at 6 p.m., and The Breakfast Club performing at 7 p.m. Cost is $25 per adult and children are free. For more information, call 925-308-7963.