Communities rally around 6 children of couple killed in crash

Holly, Josh Ulsch leave behind 6 young boys, ages 8 months to 13 years old

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. - After a married couple were killed in an early Tuesday morning crash in Bryceville near the Nassau-Duval county line, communities across North America have come together to help the couple's six sons.  

From Keystone Heights, where the family lives, to Jacksonville to as far away as Canada, the Ulsch family's pastor told News4Jax that love, support and donations are coming in from all over since the crash. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a tractor-trailer hauling logs about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday turned left onto Ford Road, pulling into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.

Troopers said 39-year-old Holly Ulsch, who was driving the Toyota Tacoma, and 38-year-old Philips Joshua "Josh" Ulsch, a passenger, both died in the crash.

The couple leave behind six young boys, ages 8 months to 13 years old. 

Family members described Josh and Holly as wonderful parents and people, and said they will deeply be missed.

Josh's mother and sister said Josh and Holly were high school sweethearts. He was a star baseball player and she was a cheerleader. 

They said Josh enjoyed riding horses and watching sports, especially the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Boston Red Sox. Josh was in school to become a missionary pilot and his first solo flight was scheduled for Friday. 

Holly, they said, was called to be a mother and both she and Josh dearly loved their six children. 

"They disciplined them when needed and showed them love," Josh's sister, Hillary, told News4Jax by phone on Thursday. "They brought them up in the nurturing atmosphere of the Lord."

Josh and Holly Ulsch

On Thursday, a table full of donations could be seen inside Freedom Baptist Church in Keystone Heights, where the couple had been members for about four years.

Pastor Jason Stephens said community members have truly stepped up and he hopes they will continue to do so because he wants the six Ulsch boys to feel loved and provided for not just now, but 10 years from now. 

"In our fellowship hall, it’s already packed with diapers, crunchy peanut butter, which is a favorite of the boys," Stephens said. "People have come together. Restaurants here in town (are) wanting to cater. People (are) coming by and just saying, 'How can we help?'"

Stephens said the boys' grandparents in Keystone Heights and their grandparents in Bryceville have been taking care of them. 

"Both (sets) of grandparents have been loving. They have cared for them," the pastor said. "The news of losing one parent is difficult, but both parents and on the same day, this is not something you can really recover from unless you have a good support group."

Stephens said the boys do indeed have a good support group, made up of family, teachers, coaches, church members. Most importantly, the pastor said, the boys have each other. 

Josh‘s sister has set up a GoFundMe page to help support the boys.

"Our church has also set up an account as we talked to the bank of what we can do and not just presently but what we can do long-term," Stephens said. 

Anyone wishing to donate to the bank through the church, which will help provide long-term finances for the boys, visit the church's website at FreedomKeystone.com, click the "Give" tab, where donations can be made to the Ulsch boys. 

The pastor said the family also asks for prayers.

Josh's mother thanked the community for the love the family has received and said she appreciates everyone for their support. 

The funeral for Josh and Holly will be on Monday at 11 a.m. at Freedom Baptist Church in Keystone Heights. In lieu of flowers, the family said, donations can be made by going to the church website and giving to the Ulsch boys. 

At 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, there will be a benefit concert with the Jim Brady Trio at the church to raise money for the Ulsch boys.

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