Ready to help out a mate
A grief-stricken Hawera family have been staggered at the strength of community spirit in their town.
Adrian Cooper discovered volunteers lined up when he opened his door at 6.45am on Saturday to start laying a concrete driveway.
He couldn't believe his eyes.
Around 30 people showed up to help the recently-widowed builder create a safe haven for his children to play on.
"They just kept coming and coming," he said.
"I was like, ‘what's going on'. It's great, it's pretty emotional."
Cooper and his children, Flynn, 8, Tyler, 4, and Mya, 2, lost a wife and mother when DeAnne Cooper, 36, was struck by a car in Ohangai Rd, Hawera, on May 26.
Their life has been in turmoil ever since.
The family had just moved into their dream home when DeAnne was killed.
"It's just so sad that we'd just moved in, it took me a year-and-a-half to build it and we'd just started to enjoy it," he said.
"We never imagined anything like this could happen. She would've loved to have seen this."
Cooper said he was humbled by the support family and friends had shown.
"I just want to say thank you to everybody that turned up and gave their time and expertise, it means a lot to me and the kids," he said.
"Especially Bruce, for organising and overseeing it."
The call to arms came from Cooper's business partner, Bruce Nickel.
Nickel's partner Sharyn Sugden said she thought it was the opportunity to support their friend and colleague that had brought the men out in droves.
"We had a lot of offers from people that wanted to help out Adrian," she said.
Sugden said men often struggled to know how to help in such an emotionally devastating situation.
"This was a way that the guys could come in and help him really."
Hawera police are waiting for the completion of a Serious Crash Unit investigation report before deciding whether any charges will be laid against the driver involved in DeAnne's death.
Taranaki Daily News