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Pave the Way: Community rallies around Franklin family after football player dies in car crash

Posted at 9:28 PM, Oct 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-10 23:29:16-04

FRANKLIN — A community stepping up in a big way for the family of a Franklin football player killed in a car crash.

Anthony Hales died in June from a crash near the Wisconsin Dells that also injured two other Franklin players.

On Friday night, friends and family will wear this t-shirt for Franklin's senior night. It says 'Pave the Way' on the front, and has Anthony Hales' name and number on the back. It's one way members of the community say they could honor one of their own, after a tragedy.

"It's the worst thing that could possibly happen to a parent and we're living it, and sometimes it's completely unreal," said Kate Gray, Anthony's mother. "It was like a Lifetime movie that I'm living in ... there's no reason on Earth that would ever be worth losing my son for. No reason. So there is an unearthly reason, that he is not here, which I am not privy to yet.

Anthony played on the Franklin football team, which makes Friday nights, tough.

"Varsity Game Parent Night, that was really hard," said Gray. "Anthony's friends that played varsity, they walked me out on the field that night with them as the parent, which was the hardest thing that I've had to do so far. You know, it's not easy to go to those games every Friday night and sit there and my kiddo is not on the field."

And he loved his little brother, Kavi.

"You know, he was the one that... oh my gosh, Mom's stuck in traffic, and Dad's running late from work, and can you run home quick and go get Kavi off the bus. like, that was huge! He probably did that like 3 times a week," she said.

But being in a wheelchair, with a gravel driveway that floods all the time, made life difficult for Kavi. And that's where the community, paved the way.

She met her goal of $25,000 within a week.

With the first pour already down, the project is underway.

"And I love that the Gridiron Club and the Saber family has included Anthony and my family in everything that they're doing," said Gray.

Which allows the memory of Anthony, to live on.

"It's never not going to be on my mind. Don't be afraid to talk to me about my loss, my loved one that has left, because when you talk to me about him, it reminds me that he lived."

Only living in Franklin for two years, Kate feels the outpouring of support for her son.

"The community is hearing that and saying 'okay, let's you know, let's surround this family with love and support and lift them up and you know, let that Mama and that Daddy smile a little bit,'" she said.

Kate will have money left over, to give back to the community, that has given her so much.

A GoFundMe for the family has already raised more than $25,000 dollars. Click here if you'd like to donate.