CAPE CHARLES, Va. (WAVY) — A family will be able to bring home their loved one who died overseas, and it’s all thanks to a very generous act of kindness from total strangers.
10 On Your Side first told you about the family’s situation on Friday.
Cape Charles resident Ashley Carannante’s father unexpectedly died from a heart attack in Croatia last week. The cost to get her dad’s remains back home was $20,000.
They had to come up with the money fast in order to preserve the Marine veteran’s body, or choose for him to be cremated instead.
Her family started a GoFundMe page to raise money and several people pitched in. Over the weekend, someone donated the full amount needed to bring their loved one home.
Donations started coming in, but Carannante said she never expected what happened next.
On Saturday morning, someone donated more than $20,000 to the account.
“I was crying instantly. I was bawling. There were no words. I still have no words,” Carannante said.
She called her mom, who was also shocked.
“She couldn’t believe it,” Carannante said. “She just kept saying ‘are you serious?’ and I was like ‘yes I’m pretty sure this is real.”
Luke Hillier is the man behind the donation.
In a comment on the site, he wrote “Everyone deserves to be able to see their father on Father’s Day. And this Marine has earned his right to a military burial on his beloved country’s soil.”
“I think it’s the closure that we need. It wouldn’t have felt right if he had been cremated and just shipped in a mailing box,” Carannante said.
The family is working with the U.S. embassy to bring their dad home, possibly sometime this weekend.
Carannante wants to thank everyone else who donated before and even after the big donation came in.
“It’s nice to know that there are people out there that are willing to lend a hand to a complete stranger, which is exactly what my dad was like,” she said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Mr. Hillier is a local businessman and philanthropist.
10 On Your Side helped the two parties get in touch and Carannante said she and her family hope to meet with Mr. Hillier soon to thank him for his help.