Community rallies around Durham family

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jan 16, 2013 - 03:00 PM

Photo: Family, friends and the community have been a crucial part in the healing for the Durham family, who lost a husband and father in an automobile accident in late October 2012. In this family photo taken at Yorktown Beach before the accident, Troy Durham is shown with his wife Michelle and daughter Montanna. Troy Durham died in the accident and Montanna spent 20 days in a Richmond hospital recovering from her injuries. Family photo

Family, friends and the community have been a crucial part in the healing for the Durham family, who lost a husband and father in an automobile accident in late October 2012. In this family photo taken at Yorktown Beach before the accident, Troy Durham is shown with his wife Michelle and daughter Montanna. Troy Durham died in the accident and Montanna spent 20 days in a Richmond hospital recovering from her injuries. Family photo

It’s been nearly three months since Michelle Durham and daughter Montanna had their lives turned completely upside down. Since that fateful day in late October, the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming and has been a godsend to the family enduring an unimaginable loss.

It was early evening on Oct. 27 when Montanna and her dad Troy were on their way home, traveling along Route 17 near Ark, when they were involved in an automobile accident that claimed Troy’s life and left Montanna, 14, in a Richmond hospital for 20 days with neck and spinal injuries.

Almost immediately, the family began experiencing first-hand the generosity and love from neighbors, friends and strangers. "It’s been overwhelming, absolutely amazing," Michelle said.

It all started with the Gloucester Field Hockey Club partnering with John Gordon, owner of the Gloucester Chick-fil-A, to hold a fundraiser for their fellow team member Montanna and her family. "It was huge," Michelle said, even attracting friends from Northern Virginia that rode down on their motorcycles—Troy’s favorite mode of transportation.

The Gloucester Field Hockey Club also sponsored a day at Damon and Company Restaurant. A poker run began at Hampton Roads Harley-Davidson and hit several other stops on the Peninsula before heading back to Gloucester, raising money for the family along the route.

Another friend put together a silent auction where gift certificates, stickers, baked goods and other items were all donated. "That raised over $11,000 in one day," Michelle said. Others coordinated a benefit put on by the Dragon Run Saddle Club that included various activities.

Another friend put together a "women’s day out" in Yorktown that featured over 20 vendors selling items to benefit the family.

One of Montanna’s friends established a "R.I.P. Troy Durham" Facebook page, which had nearly 1,500 "likes" on it, as of this week.

Another friend ordered bracelets to remember Troy. "He ordered 600 of them and sold 407 of them in one day," Michelle said. That gesture raised over $1,200.