Coworkers Honor Family Killed in Sterling City Crash
SAN ANGELO, TX-- The employees of Liberty Tax Services share a special bond with one another. For the most part, they are either blood related or extremely close.
That’s why the tragic, Saturday crash on US Highway 87 levied a boom nobody in the company was ready for.
Hannah Jordan handles the marketing and promotions for the seven Liberty Tax offices in the region. Her boss was Jim Clemens. He was the general manager of the tax services locations since November 2015.
Saturday, Jordan said they saw the story on San Angelo LIVE! about a crash but didn’t think their boss was killed in it. That’s when Jim’s church put out a message on Facebook and as a result, an emergency meeting of all Liberty Tax Services employees was held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon to deliver the horrible news.
The news told at that meeting hit everyone like a ton of bricks. Jim and his wife, Karisa, and their 2-month-old Julianna were killed in the fatal vehicle crash two miles southwest of Sterling City. The entire family was returning from a family trip. Three of their four other children, Wyatt, 4, Angela, 8, and Zachery 5, were hospitalized. Nick, 2, has been with his grandparents since being released.
“We all fell apart,” Jordan said.
Jordan mentioned the close-knit nature of the Clemens family saying Jim and his family were frequently together whether it was at Liberty Tax functions or outside of work.
“We had these things called ‘roadsides’,” Jordan said. “We would have bounce houses, face painting an a bunch of kid oriented stuff.”
Jordan said that the Clemens’ kids were always in attendance with their parents.
Jordan remembers her boss fondly.
“He traveled to all seven stores frequently,” Jordan said. “He was quirky and funny. He always wants to make you laugh. But he was serious about the business, too,” Jordan said.
Jim, who graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, arrived in San Angelo in 2012 and worked for a short while for Ethicon in materials management. After a short stint in a similar capacity for another company in Sugarland, he returned to San Angelo to manage the tax services locations for his brother-in-law. He was also good with computers and networking and often helped solve those kinds of problems at all locations, Jordan said.
Jim had a large family. He and his wife Karisa had five children. Their newborn daughter, Julianna, was very special to the couple, Jordan said. When Karisa was pregnant with the family’s fifth child, Jordan said she recalled the couple were praying for a daughter. “They were so happy and felt blessed when their baby girl, Julianna was born,” Jordan said.
Jordan recalls a story of Karisa having a dream about a little girl calling her ‘mommy’ while the couple was trying to have another kid. In the dream, Julianna was the little girl’s name which led to the naming of their newborn baby girl.
Since the accident, people nationwide have supported fundraisers for the family to help cover various expenses, whether it be funeral costs or hospital bills for the kids still fighting for their lives.
“We were trying to figure out fundraisers to come up with to help with the financial burden,” Jordan said. “They’ve raised over $60,000. We've had people from Ohio and Utah call and ask how they can help. We directed them to the page where they can donate if they can't make it here on April 28. We’re hoping to get more.”
The brisket fundraiser labeled “Clemens Strong” that Liberty Tax will host on April 28 has received support from everyone, including the City of San Angelo who gave the group use of the Farmers Market at 609 South Oakes St.
The fundraiser starts at 11 a.m. and runs until they “sell out” of brisket. Plates are $10 and come with brisket and two sides.
If you would like to help out or donate brisket, seasoning, plates, etc. please contact Jennifer (325) 245-9067 or Shanna at (325) 212-2317.
Hannah Jordan's last comment during the interview were that the company wants everyone to pray for the driver of the other vehicle involved, as well.