One Michigan elementary faculty trainer went above and past when he took two former college students to their faculty’s annual father-daughter dance — simply weeks after the kids unexpectedly misplaced their father.
On Oct. 13, Steve Culbert took Avery and Alivia Reece to Hanh Intermediate College’s annual dance in Davison, with just a little assist from his personal daughters, Hailey and Aliyah, who’re buddies and classmates of the sisters, Yahoo Life-style experiences.
Not even a month earlier than, on Sept. 19, Avery and Alivia’s father, Luke Reece, handed away at age 32. Luke was hospitalized on Aug. 27 to diagnose a sudden “shortness of breath” and different uncommon signs, when medical doctors discovered he had a Protein C deficiency that triggered a number of blood clots in his physique, together with in his lungs and legs, MLive.com experiences. The information got here as a critical shock.
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Struggling cardiac arrest, Luke by no means regained consciousness and was taken off life assist.
“It’s nonetheless like…I can not imagine it. This isn’t speculated to have occurred,” his spouse Shelley Reece instructed the outlet of the tragic lack of her husband.
Luke loved yard work, gardening, taking part in baseball and , Shelley stated, and he beloved their daughters most of all. A proud “gymnastics dad,” he additionally took Avery and Alivia to the father-daughter dance within the final 4 years.
Steve, who grew to become buddies with the Reece household as he beforehand had each Avery and Alivia in his second grade courses, was impressed to step up throughout the household’s time of want.
“I am a trainer as a result of I knew the place I must be and knew what I wished to do lastly,” he instructed MLive.com. “I really like my college students and from day one, I inform my college students they’re household … You possibly can’t simply say it, you need to reside it.”
Steve additionally felt a particular empathy for Avery and Alivia, as he misplaced his older brother, who was 14, to most cancers in 1984.
“I do know what it’s like to harm as a child,” Steve instructed Yahoo. “Seeing my brother undergo what he went by at that age — he was the strongest individual I’ve ever identified.”
Throughout Luke’s ultimate days within the hospital, Steve visited the Reece household there to supply just a little further assist.
“I wasn’t essentially making an attempt to be a father determine, simply somebody they knew that they might flip to,” he stated of the gesture. “They’ve an important household. Their dad was their every thing.”
Throughout that point, after conversations along with his spouse, Katie, he dreamt up the concept of inviting the ladies to the father-daughter dance that Luke at all times introduced them too — which Shelley, Avery and Alivia accepted.
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When the large day lastly arrived, the Culbert household whisked Avery and Alivia away for breakfast at Tim Horton’s, a visit to the playground, and a visit to the salon for particular hairstyles. The Reece sisters then jetted to their aunt’s wedding ceremony, which they have been in, and later returned residence to a particular shock — a limo.
“After we have been on our means, I stated, ‘I don’t anticipate you to deal with me like your dad. I do know he’s right here with us,’” Steve instructed Yahoo.
Earlier than the group entered the dance, Steve gave Avery and Alivia crimson balloons inscribed #belikeluke to launch of their father’s honor and reminiscence, in what he described as “a proud and emotional second.”
Dancing the evening away on the dance, the night ended on a candy notice for Steve and the 4 women: ice cream at McDonald’s.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out,” the dad stated of the particular evening, including that Hailey and Aliyah have been pleased they have been capable of convey just a little mild to their buddies’ lives throughout a tough time.
Their mom, too, is ever grateful.
“It’s simply so good that somebody exterior of the house is looking from them,” Shelley instructed MLive. “I simply wish to thank Mr. Culbert and all people for ensuring the ladies had an evening to recollect.”