Hartford community comes together for Hoefert family
HARTFORD, S.D. -- (Dakota News Now) - On July 31st, tragedy struck a local family from Hartford. Drew and Jennifer Hoefert, along with their daughter, Abby Vitek, were killed in a car accident in Montana, and two of their other children, Blayre, and Cooper were hospitalized.
Saturday in Hartford, the community rallied around the Hoefert’s with a fundraiser. Photojournalist Sam Tastad has the story.
“This means the world to the Hoefert family. They were here earlier, but it was tough. they came. It just means the world to me that the community and surrounding area have come out to help the Hoefert family for those kids,” said event organizer Daana Deters.
“When you hear something like that, your first words are, you are kidding me? You’re joking? And when they’re are not, then it takes it to a different level,” said family member Pam Hoefert.
“I was outside in my yard working and I had to literally sit down in my lawn chair. and I lost it....it was hard,” said family friend Jerry Steen.
“Everybody’s prayers, thoughts....it’s unbelievable,” said family member Tom Huls.
“When my brother called me and said we got to do something for the Hoefert family, I said yes we do. A half hour later, I put it on the Hartford Happening Facebook page, and it blew up. It means the world to me because I grew up in Hartford also. It’s a close knit community, said Deters.
“The good thing for these kids, if you can say anything good, is that they are close to their cousins, and even their second cousins,” said Pam.
“I call her peanut Blayre. I mean she is doing excellent, but everybody wants to talk to her, you know what i mean. we kind of need to leave them to have their own space so they can do their grieving and move on,” said Huls.
“We all worked for the West Central school district and I have been at school for 15 years, and I have never seen the first few days quite this quiet. The high school is doing something which is really neat. Abby had a locker, and she was a freshman last year. and that locker will not be used until after she graduates,” said Steen.
“The more love we can give them now, the better. It can’t just be today. It has to continue on,” said Steen.
“The community is here and they will do whatever they need to. It’s just way small towns are,” said Huls.
“They always say it takes a village to raise a child, well our village is Hartford,” said Pam.
Blayre has started school and is still recovering, while her brother Cooper, is still also recovering from his injuries in the accident.
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