STODDARD COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A crash nearly three months ago not only killed a Stoddard County man, but robbed his family of a husband and father.
Now the community's coming together in a big way, even through the love of football to help.
When 34-year-old Daniel Whittemore of Advance died in January, his wife and four girls were no doubt devastated.
They're a little better today, thanks to an outpouring of love and support.
"It still doesn't seem real that he's gone," said Sarah Whittemore.
On January 16, 2013 Daniel Whittemore was toward the end of his work day when his work truck went off the road and overturned. He died at the scene.
Sarah Whittemore had to tell her four girls that daddy wasn't coming home.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done," said Whittemore.
She says the girls, who range in age from 13 to 2 years old, miss their daddy so much.
"If they see a white truck pass by when they're going down the road, they'll turn and think it's him for just a second and then they remember," said Whittemore.
Sarah says she'll do whatever she can to keep Daniel's memory alive.
Little 4-year-old Emaleigh made a picture at school of her and her daddy.
The painting will be auctioned off this weekend at a benefit in Advance.
It's one of many efforts to help this grieving family.
"Luckily I've had lots of support from the Advance community from friends and family that reached out and supported us and helped with me with the girls," said Whittemore. "I don't know what I would have done with out them."
There's another effort coming up on April 20th in Cape Girardeau.
"It's an opportunity to bring families together and do it for a good cause," said Jose Sanchez-National Guardsman.
The Cape County Enforcers football team will donate proceeds from its 8th annual game to the Whittemore family.
The team is made up of local enforcement, and members of the military.
"This is a way for us old guys that used to play this sport of football to come out and play a game that we love while helping a family in need," said Rowe Arends-Criminal Investigator with the Missouri Department of Corrections.
A lot of these guys have children of their own, and can't imagine what Sarah and her girls are going through.
"They were all daddy's girls, everyday they think about him...everyday they talk about him," said Whittemore.
It's taking some of the joys of life and helping a local family begin to tackle not only their sorrow, but also uplift them financially.
"It means the world to me," said Whittemore. "When something like this happens you feel so alone. It's given me so much strength to know my girls and my family have affected people this way."
On Saturday April 13, 2013 the Whittemore children benefit and auction will be held. It's at the Advance Eagles on Highway C. Doors open at 2:00p.m.
It will include a dinner, cake walk, live auction, entertainment, and more.
If you are unable to attend, but would still like to help the family, monetary donations are being accepted at The Bank of Advance or through PayPal at email@example.com
Donations can also be mailed to Whittemore Children's Fund, PO Box 236 Advance, MO 63730
On April 20, 2013 the Cape County Enforcers will take on the Springfield Guns in Cape Girardeau at Houck Stadium.
This will benefit the Whittemore family.
Events begin at 4:30 p.m. with a Crossfit Challenge by Muddy Water Crossfit. There will be activities for children as well.