Support raised for Abilene refugee family after father's death


ABILENE, Texas - On a rainy afternoon, 13-year-old Idris Ilunga sat on his front porch remembering his dad, 41-year-old Ilunga Idris, who was killed in a car accident Sunday night near Temple.

Their names are reversed -- Ilunga is a junior, named after his father.

"The coolest thing he wanted me to do is to study hard in my school and stuff, but the coolest thing I did with him was I would go fishing with him," Ilunga said.

His mother, Maria, works at Goodwill in Abilene. She now has seven children to look after by herself, ages nine months to 17 years. Their church family has pledged to help.

"They're members of our family, so there's no question we'll do everything we need to do to help them and to help them flourish and we know there are others in Abilene as well who will want to help this family and everything that they can," said Fr. Philip LeMasters, pastor at St. Luke Orthodox Church.

The children's former teachers also dropped by with food, ready to do all they can.

"I was heartbroken for him 'cause I've kept up with him, and I'm just so sad for their family," said Mallory Moser, Ilunga's fourth-grade teacher.

Ilunga said he's thankful for all the support and had this final message for his father.

"I would say thank you for always being there for me, and I hope you have good luck, and I would say goodbye, and I'd tell him I love him so much," Ilunga said.

Food and monetary donations are being accepted at Austin Elementary, Lee Elementary, Craig Middle School and Abilene High School -- the schools where the children in the family attend.

You can find a link to the GoFundMe page here.