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‘Both boys were destined to make an impact’: Vineyard restaurant owner launches fund-raiser after ‘Jaws’ bridge tragedy

From left, brothers Tavaughn and Tavaris Bulgin.courtesy of Rev. Rhoan Perkins

State Police continued to search Wednesday for the missing 21-year-old Jamaican man who jumped off a Martha’s Vineyard bridge with his older brother Sunday night, spokesman David Procopio said in a statement.

A trooper searched the shoreline near the “Jaws Bridge” by foot and on an ATV but did not locate Tavaughn Bulgin, Procopio said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Weather conditions prevented diving, but the State Police Underwater Recovery Team will “continue to assess ocean conditions and other mission demands on a daily basis to determine when dive operations will resume,” Procopio said.

Bulgin is presumed dead, authorities have said. The body of his 26-year-old brother, Tavaris Bulgin, was found around 6:30 a.m. Monday.

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On Tuesday, the owner of the Martha’s Vineyard restaurant where the Bulgin brothers worked launched a GoFundMe to assist their family with travel, transport, funeral, and memorial service costs.

Doug Abdelnour, the owner of Nomans restaurant in Oak Bluffs, wrote on GoFundMe that Tavaris and Tavaughn left an impression on everyone they met with their “bright smiles, charismatic personalities, unshakeable faith, and unrelenting positive attitude.”

A sign at Nomans restaurant in Oak Bluffs stated the restaurant was closed for the day on Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The brothers were from Clarendon, Jamaica, and both grew up involved in the church, studying business at the University of Technology, Jamaica, and the University of the West Indies, Abdelnour wrote.

Tavaris graduated from the University of Technology, Jamaica, over a year ago, and Tavaughn was a student at University of the West Indies, family spokesman the Rev. Rhoan Parkins told the Jamaica Gleaner.

Tavaris was a “beloved school teacher,” while Tavaughn was known as a “musical prodigy” and “gifted soccer/football player,” Abdelnour wrote.

“Both boys were destined to make an impact in every community they served and every endeavor they pursued,” he added.

The goal of the fund-raiser is to ensure the Bulgin family does not have to worry “about access to sufficient funds to lay their sons to rest properly,” Abdelnour wrote.

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“Their enthusiasm for life, commitment to God and their church, and impact on their community are how family and friends remember them,” Abdelnour wrote of the brothers. “They leave an unforgettable mark on the community of Martha’s Vineyard, their hometown of Clarendon and the entire country of Jamaica.”

Abdelnour could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The fund-raiser had collected more than $137,000 as of Wednesday, far exceeding its $50,000 goal.

The two brothers, along with two of their friends, had jumped into the water from the bridge connecting Edgartown and Oak Bluffs around 11 p.m. Sunday. The friends emerged safely, but the brothers did not.

Authorities suspended the search for Tavaughn Bulgin Tuesday afternoon after poor weather caused dangerous conditions, Procopio said. Police had been searching a “very large” area, including the inlet on the land side of the bridge and the ocean on the seaward side.

Environmental Police deployed a “sidescan sonar device,” which uses sound waves to detect objects in the water and ocean floor, he said. If the sonar detected anything, State Police Underwater Recovery Unit members would dive to see what it was.


Bailey Allen can be reached at bailey.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @baileyaallen.