Jessica and Jim Hall

PAYSON — After a Payson man died in late October from injuries he sustained on a hunting trip with his son in the mountains, strangers and friends alike are opening their hearts — and their wallets — to his widow and five young children.

Jim Hall took his 6-year-old son, Braxton, hunting Oct. 25 in the mountains near the Nebo loop. The truck they were riding in rolled several times. Hall was banged up in the accident, but he managed to get his son out. With no other option available, they hiked more than 15 miles in 10 hours before they finally arrived at their home.

The next day, Hall went to the hospital, where doctors discovered vertebrae had been broken in the rollover. A surgery was scheduled for the next day, and Hall was sent home. He died during the night, leaving his wife, Jessica, and children — Porter, Braxton, Megan, Emery and Hunter — without support.

"When things like this happen, you feel so helpless," said Hall's neighbor Stephanie Jensen.

So Jensen and friends Renee Stewart and Deanna Riding decided to take action.

The two recruited other volunteers, and the community hosted a bake and yard sale Nov. 1. The small town's generous response was a welcome surprise for the bereaved family. For two days straight, friends and strangers alike showed up to lend support.

One man in army fatigues told Jensen he was touched by Hall's heroism and left $100 without taking a single baked good. Others bought $5 worth of treats and paid with a $50 bill, saying "Keep the change."

Jessica Hall and the children came for a while, and "they were touched by the outpouring of support," Jensen said. The bake sale garnered several thousand dollars.

"It's great to see people act ... to make a difference for (Jessica)," she said.

But donations aren't just coming from the local community. Word of Hall's heroic feat has traveled far and wide.

Jensen said she received a phone call from one woman who said her husband is stationed in Iraq. He read of Hall online, and of Jessica's current plight. He promptly called his wife.

"You find that woman and do something to help her," he said. "And let her know that everybody in Iraq thinks what he did was heroic."

Jeff Hinton, half of the country duo Joshua Creek, heard the story of the father and son's journey through the mountains and was deeply touched.

"We really need to help them," he said of the family. So the Utah County-based country band will play a benefit concert Dec. 1 at the Miller Free Enterprise Center Auditorium in Sandy. All proceeds will go to benefit the James Timothy Hall Fund.

Hall was a generous neighbor and a kind, loving father, Jensen said. Days before the accident, she remembers seeing him spend two whole days setting up Christmas lights with his children. She said Hall followed his children's orders, adjusting and readjusting the lights, until the display fit his children's fancy.

"Most men get up there and throw (Christmas lights) up," Jensen said. "But he was patient and wanted it to look the way his kids wanted it to look."

A fund has been set up at Zions Bank in James Timothy Hall's name. Any donation will be a great help to the family, Jensen said.

"It doesn't bring him back, but it can help ease the burden," she said.

E-mail: jdana@desnews.com