BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- In January 2011, a vehicle crash claimed the life of Taylor Gillespie, a 21-year-old student at Texas A&M University and a member of the Corps of Cadets.
Tanya, Taylor, and TJ Gillespie
Gillespie and his father were together in a car when they hit a patch of black ice, spun out, and were t-boned by another vehicle.
"That day is my personal 9/11," said TJ Gillespie. "Taylor had just gotten off the phone with this mother and his last word was 'daddy' right before the accident."
TJ and his wife, Tanya, struggled with the loss of their only child after the tragedy, and while some days were better than others, not a day went by without remembering their son.
The couple says some of their favorite memories were trips to College Station to visit Taylor at A&M, but they also remember how costly those trips can be.
"We always enjoyed Aggieland and loved to visit Taylor whenever we could. Due to finances, our visits were not as frequent as we would have liked, so we are empathetic to other families faced with this same struggle," said Tanya.
That's why they uprooted from their home in North Texas and moved to Bryan where they made it their mission to help other Aggies and their families.
"We decided to help families spend more time with their student by opening Taylor's Place, where families in need can stay for free," said TJ.
Taylor's Place is their home. They invite guests to stay in the spare bedrooms, provide meals, and offer up support to students who are away from their families.
"We have always opened our home to kids who needed extra support, a stable family to look up to, or just a home-cooked meal and a listening ear. With Taylor's Place, we invite students to host their organizational parties, class or Corps projects, or simply hang out in a comfortable, home-like setting. We welcome families and students, and hope that Taylor's Place can serve as a home away from home," said Tanya.
KBTX and the Daniel Stark Injury Law Firm are honored to spotlight Tanya and TJ Gillespie for their tireless work to help others in Aggieland and beyond.
If you'd like to learn more about Taylor's Place of if you're willing to make a financial donation to help support the non-profit, please visit them online at www.taylorsplace.org.
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