In Remembrance and for the Future
Saturday was about honoring four-year-old Deja McDermott who lost her mother and two siblings in the tragedy just two months ago to this very day.
In a celebration filled with laughter and music, friends, family, and even total strangers paid tribute to Deja's life and her future.
"She's a little angel for number one, I will tell you that. She is an awesome little girl. She's very vibrant and outgoing and she will touch your heart the moment you see her," said Deja's great aunt Beatrice Mullanix.
She was with her grandmother in Saint Louis the night her mom, brother and sister died in Kirksville. Two months later, those close to her are thankful she wasn't there.
"That's why we call it a celebration of life, ya know, that's what it's all about. This is in memory of Meranda, Deja, and Meleena, but it's also a celebration of life that Deja's still with us," Mullanix added.
It was a celebration, surrounded by food, music and even an auction full of nothing but donated goods. The goal was simple - raise money to make Deja's life, without a mother, as happy as possible.
"I really don't know the family, but, ya know, I'm sure the little girl is going to need lots of help," said Mexico resident Joyce Carlyle.
And for those that helped Deja, mostly strangers, the family says thank you.
"I think it's a wonderful thing that the community can come together like this," said Deja's grandmother Lisa Lewis.
And for little Deja, through the smiles on her face, she says thank you too.
Deja's family hoped to raise nearly $15-20,000 at Saturday's benefit fundraiser. Most of that money will go toward Deja's educational trust fund.
Anybody else interested in giving money can donate to the McDermott family fund set-up at First National Bank in Columbia.