CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Many communities came together Sunday afternoon to raise money for the Hooper family after their son was killed earlier in the week.
On Tuesday afternoon, 8-year-old Forrest Hooper was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
“So, we’re just here to help his family out and raise some money and hopefully pay for a funeral and anything they need that comes up in the near future for them,” said Matthew Cilento, owner of Chesapeake’s Hickory Towing.
The fundraiser was filled with food, bounce houses for the kids, a silent auction, and dinosaurs, all things that Forrest loved.
Around 40 businesses came together for the event, helping to raise more than $20,000 for the Hooper family.
Cilento told 10 On Your Side how great it was to see so many people rally behind them.
“People from as far as Richmond, they were bringing a Jurassic Park-themed Jeep down here because the little boy loved dinosaurs. It’s crazy how many people have come together. And 90 percent of these people I’ve never met before. These are people I didn’t know that just said they wanted to help,” he said.
He explained he’s been in close contact with the family since they lost their son.
He said all of the support came as a shock to them.
“The father after this said, you know I was thinking about right after this I should’ve probably never left Florida but the outcry of support, he has here he’s like, we would’ve never had something like this in Florida.”
Cilento’s niece, Addison Casassa, also attended the event and told 10 On Your Side why she thought it was so important to be there.
“I think it’s really important to show that you care just not about your own life like I’m in high school, I don’t have to be here, but I want to be here to show my support for that family because that could be anyone here.”
The Southeastern Elementary School PTA made a Facebook post encouraging the community to wear blue on Monday to honor the late Forrest.