Group pays tribute to cast member
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- Before the keys even were in the ignition, a small group of people exceeded their $500 fundraising goal at an off-road riding event to benefit the family of "BUCKWILD" cast member Shain Gandee on Wednesday evening.
Donned in blaze orange shirts bearing the 21-year-old's name, more than two dozen all-terrain vehicles and pick-up trucks gathered in the parking lot of the Kroger in Proctorville to pay tribute to Gandee, who paid a visit to nearby Crown City, Ohio, last Saturday to celebrate the opening of his cousin's, Ashley Gandee Lewis, general store.
Gandee, his uncle, David Gandee, and 27-year-old Donald Robert Myers were found dead inside an SUV on Monday in Sissonville, less than 24 hours after relatives reported the men missing.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that autopsies confirmed the men died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Megan Day, who was one of five co-organizers for the event, said Gandee made a big impression in a short time on those who attended that grand opening event.
In fact, that gathering even led to what Day described as some "big burnouts" and a trip to a nearby strip mining site, where the group went mudding and planned to get together again soon.
"He was really good-natured, and he wasn't snobby or anything like that," said Day. "He said he was ready to go have fun without the cameras in his face, and, after I met him in person, I think the show probably made him out to be something a little more different that what he really was like."
She said Gandee had planned to return to Crown City on Monday for a similar outing, and she said people had described the young man as "outgoing, but very down to earth."
She said the group stopped by Lewis' home in Crown City to deliver the money to her family before returning to the strip mines to go mudding.
Wes Humphrey of Proctorville said he had not met Gandee personally, but he said he wanted to come out in support of his family in any way he could.
"I would want people to be supportive of my family if something like this happened to me," said Humphrey. "We weren't from the same town, but when you watched him, it just seemed like he was one of us."
A spokesman for MTV announced Tuesday that shooting for the second season of "BUCKWILD" was suspended following the news of Gandee's death. Producers of the show have announced they will pay for Gandee's funeral.
The Associated Press reported the show boasted millions of viewers during its first season, though it was not without detractors, including U.S. Sen. and former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin. He asked MTV to cancel the show in September, telling the network's president in a letter that the show profits off of "poor decisions of our youth" and that it plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.
Funeral services for Shain Gandee and David Gandee are set for 2 p.m. Sunday in the Charleston Municipal Auditorium.
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