Tragedy tore a family apart, but the kindness of strangers is helping them heal.
A sheriff deputy from northern Nevada died in a car crash the day before Thanksgiving. His 9-year-old step-daughter also died.
The lone survivor was his wife and mother of the little girl. As she recovers from critical injuries at University Medical Center, she says she is finding love and support from people whom she had never met until recently.
8 News NOW met up with 32-year-old Shelly Harter in her hospital bed.
"I don't even have the words to tell you how thankful and blessed I am," she said.
This from a woman who days ago lost both her husband, Michael Patrick Harter, and her daughter in a car crash. Their vehicle veered in snowy weather and into a semi truck as they drove from their home in northern Nevada to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving.
"The last word from him was, ‘I am so sorry Shelley,’" she said of her late husband.
Emergency responders flew Harter to UMC. Her severe injuries are still visible, but her spirit remains surprisingly strong.
"I feel like God left me a life for a reason," she said.
She says, along with her mother and other relatives by her bedside, she is getting support from complete strangers.
“They are angels from God. That was my reaction,” she said.
The strangers are a group of women who are wives of Metro Police officers. They heard what happened, because Michael served for the Eureka County Sheriff’s Department.
Deborah, who asked not to list her last name, is the founder of the group Las Vegas Metro Wives. They collected clothing, toiletries and other supplies for Harter. They also raised nearly $3,000 online.
"There's no good time for this to happen, but being the day before Thanksgiving, it really touched me,” Deborah said. "We are all humans, law enforcement or regular community. It doesn't matter what it is. Little things can make big differences."
"The blue family, we stick together. We’re always there for one another," Harter said.
The Las Vegas Metro Wives is also reaching out to the community for help.
These women, more than 700 of them on their Facebook page, were instrumental in supporting the families of Officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck who were gunned down in a local restaurant.
They helped raise thousands of dollars and continue to offer support on special occasions like holidays and birthdays.
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