Donation Fund established for Franklin Fire Victims

By Gary Scott on February 2, 2017 at 5:30am

Tragedy struck the Franklin community earlier this week when a residential fire claimed the lives of Betsie, Jacob and Jocelyn Austif.

Jonathan Austif, husband of Betsie and father of Jacob and Jocelyn, was the lone survivor of the blaze. After receiving treatment at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, there’s some relief on the way for Jonathan and the rest of the Austif family.

Community State Bank of Franklin is offering a way for local citizens to give back. Bank President Keith Bradbury says the Austif family has close connections to their hometown.

“We have served the Austif family for many decades. Wonderful people, local folks, and when a tragedy of this magnitude happens, everybody wants to help, everybody wants to do something. So we thought we would offer them an opportunity to contribute financially to the Austif family by bringing their deposits here to the Community State Bank and we’ll see that (the Austif family) gets those funds,” says Bradbury.

Bradbury explains why the bank wanted to get involved and assist the Austif during these trying times.

“When everything is lost…and so many expenses that Jonathan is going to have now, he’s going to need so much help and so much support and he’ll need it immediately. The employees got together here and they wanted to contribute, so I said ‘okay, let’s start the fund then,'” says Bradbury.

He says Jonathan Austif has been a vital part of the Franklin community for a number of years.

“Jonathan is a wonderful member of our community. Jonathan helped out with the volunteer fire department, which is, as we all know, a thankless job sometimes, but he was always there to help. There have been some veterans in, wanting to help out, because Jonathan is an ex-marine, so that’s going to be great when they step up,” Bradbury explains.

There are a number of ways to donate. Those living outside the Franklin area can mail funds to Community State Bank, P.O. Box 200, Franklin, Illinois, 62638. Donations can also be made online by emailing, or by calling the bank at 217-675-2311.