Marie Gemmell and sons Cole and Devon.

Community Rallying to Help Local Victims of Gaithersburg Plane Crash

UPDATED – People throughout Montgomery County and even out of state are stepping up to help a father and his daughter through the pain of losing the rest of their family in a freak accident that had a jet crashing into their Gaithersburg home.

Marie Gemmell and sons Cole and Devon.

Marie Gemmell and sons Cole and Devon.

A waitress at Dogfish Head Aleshouse who admits she barely knows the Gemmell family was so struck by the horror of that Dec. 8 accident that she started a GoFundMe account to help raise funds for Ken Gemmell and his daughter Arabelle. They lost Marie Gemmell, 36 and her two children, Cole (3) and Devin (7 weeks) who were were found huddled together in a second floor bathroom of their home that was completely destroyed by the jet. The three died of smoke inhalation, according to a report for the Office of the Medical Examiner. The jet was traveling from Chapel Hill, N.C. to the Montgomery County Airpark when it crashed into a neighborhood off Drop Forge Lane damaging two homes and completely destroying the Gemmells’ home.

As Jenifer Miller of Silver Spring watched the news reports, she said she realized she recognized the family and had to help them.

“I have waited on them a few times at Dogfishhead Alehouse,” she said describing the family as “regulars.”

“They are very kind people and not just to the staff but to each other. They are very attentive with their children and they way the look at each other as a couple, they are so cute and kind,” Miller told MyMCMedia.

The jet crashed at about 10:15 a.m. on Dec.8 and by 5 p.m. that day Miller had started her GoFundMe account to raise what she hoped would be about $10,000 for the family.

“I am a mother of five and  all I thought was as a human being if I were ever in any kind of situation not even of this magnitude I would hope someone would have it in their heart to do it for me,” she said.

The fund now sits at more than $355,000 raised by more than 7,000 donors and continues to grow. According to GoFundMe Public Relations Manager Kelsea  Little the ‘Gemmell Family Fundraiser’ campaign has been up for two days and has quickly become the GoFundMe site’s  9th largest campaign of all time.

Miller said Gemmell called the restaurant Monday evening to talk to her when he found out about the fundraising, and the two briefly spoke since then.

“It was so unexpected (to hear from Gemmell) I could go the rest of this life and he not say anything to me and I would understand,” Miller said.

Miller said she plans to keep the GoFundMe account operating until Gemmell instructs her to take it down.

In addition to the online fundraiser, Kid’sTown Learning Center at 18815 Waring Station Road, Germantown is also accepting donations for the family. Donations could include size 8 girls’ clothing, size 2 girls’ shoes, toys and school supplies as well as size large shirts, pants size 36×30; shoes size 10. Gift cards are also being requested. The drop-off location is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

A community event in Germantown is also hoping to raise funds for the Gemmell family.

Pop Up Play Zone at 2211 Bel Pre Road; Silver Spring is asking for a $10 donation for the family in exchange for two hours of fun on all the inflatables there. The event is scheduled for Dec. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Food vendors will also be on-hand donating proceeds to the family.

“We saw the story and I feel like he has a similar to mine before this happened – he is from New Jersey, he  has an 8 year old and he lives in Gaithersburg,” said Andy Ross owner of Pop Up Play Zone along with partner Eric Knaus of The Great Zucchini.

Gaithersburg Leaders to Recognize Woman Who Set Up Fund for Gemmell Family

Marie Gemmell and sons Cole and Devon.

The woman who set up a GoFundMe account for the Gemmell family following a fatal Dec. 8 plane crash in Gaithersburg is scheduled to be recognized for her efforts at the Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council meeting on Jan. 5. Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman said it was his idea to recognize Jenifer Miller, who is […]

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Savi Technology Launches College Fund for Gemmell Daughter

PHOTO | Courtesy of Savi Technology

Savi Technology established the Arabelle Gemmell Fund, a campaign designed to create a college fund for Arabelle Gemmell, daughter of Savi employee Ken Gemmell. Arabelle’s mother and two young brothers, Devin and Cole, were killed when a small plane hit their home near Gaithersburg on Dec. 8, 2014. Ken Gemmell was at work at the […]

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Leggett Calls for Review of the County's Airpark Operations (VIDEO)


Residents are questioning the safety of the Montgomery County Airpark after a plane crashed into a neighborhood nearby killing six people on Dec. 8.   Related:

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DogFish Head Alehouse to Host Gemmell Fundraiser

Marie Gemmell and sons Cole and Devon.

A Gaithersburg restaurant has scheduled a fundraiser for Dec. 22 to benefit the Gemmell family, who lost Marie Gemmell and her two young sons when a plane crashed into their Gaithersburg home earlier this month. Dogfish Head Alehouse at 800 West Diamond Avenue is donating 20 percent of the day’s profits as well as money from a […]

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Executive Ike Leggett on Airpark Review (Video)

Ike Leggett

In this MyMCMedia Extra, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett details the information he is looking for from the Revenue Authority when it comes to reviewing operations at the Montgomery County Airpark. Related:

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County Executive Leggett Wants Airpark Review (VIDEO)

Ike Leggett

In this MyMCMedia Extra video, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett reflects on his recent visit to the site of the fatal plane crash. He said the crash has also raised some questions from residents about the operations at the Montgomery County Airpark and he is asking for a review from the Montgomery County Revenue Authority. […]

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Leggett on Support for the Gemmell Family (VIDEO)

Marie Gemmell and sons Cole and Devon.

A fund established for the Gemmell family has grown to over $355,000 this week. In this MyMCMedia Extra video, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett says it is gratifying to see the community’s generous support for this local family who lost so much in the tragic plane crash on Dec. 8. According to Kelsea Little, public […]

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Gaithersburg Staff and Leaders Offer Condolences to Gemmell Family

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The City of Gaithersburg released a statement  offering condolences to Ken Gemmell who lost his wife and two sons when their home was hit by the plane on Dec. 8. Ken Gemmell served on the city’s Environmental Affairs Committee and as a soccer coach through the city’s recreational program, according to a city press release. The statement […]

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Medical Report: Three On Board Plane Died of Traumatic Injuries

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The three people on board the jet that crashed in Gaithersburg Monday died of multiple traumatic injuries, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Police released the finding Wednesday afternoon. The three have been identified as Michael Rosenberg, 66; David Hartman, 52, and Chijioke Ogbuka, 31, all of Raleigh, N.C. The cause of […]

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Senator Mikulski Issues Statement on Plane Crash in Gaithersburg

photo of Barbara Mikulski

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) issued the following statement on the plane crash in Gaithersburg which killed six people: “My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in yesterday’s plane crash in Gaithersburg especially to the Gemmell Family. My deepest gratitude goes to the first responders who rushed to the scene […]

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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