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Out of state GoFundMe raises thousands for Fishin Franks

Posted at 10:30 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 22:42:16-04

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA — "It's a miracle nobody was there," said Tommy Wilkinson.

Considering the fact that Fishin Franks bait and tackle shop, was supposed to open just a few hours after a car plowed into it early Sunday morning, miraculous may be right.

And while lives where spared, the owner told Fox 4 on Sunday, a lifetime of memories and hard work were not.

"People from all come in from all over the world over the decades," said Fishin Frank.

Tommy Wilkinson is one of those people.

"They've always treated me like a good friend or like family," he said.

He's been visiting the Port Charlotte shop for years with his family.

"My jaw hit the floor," said Wilkinson.

But after seeing video of the destroyed business Sunday, he started a GoFundMe, all the way from Akron, Ohio where he lives to help out.

"My goal was to raise as much as to raise as much as I could, as close to five thousand dollars as possible," he said.

Wilkinson says his plan was to match anything up to $5,000 that was raised.

And while he's still planning to do that, in 48 hours the page has raised more than $14,000.

Wilkinson says when you look at the success of the GoFundMe or even a Facebook page called "Rebuilding Fishin Franks," which is organizing efforts to get frank back on his feet, you can see the true impact Frank has had on others.

"It just goes to show how many lives frank had touched and the staff there that he has," said Wilkinson.

Florida Highway Patrol still has not released the name of the driver who caused the crash or the exact cause of the accident.

However, they have said that they believe alcohol was involved.