A Georgia State Trooper’s graceful handling of four children under tragic circumstances has ended up raising nearly a half million dollars for their futures.
Trooper Nathan Bradley had the difficult job of knocking at the door of a family home in Newborn to report the car crash that had killed both parents on October 31. Crystal and Donald Howard had gone out to get more face paint for the kids— ages six to 13 — before taking them Trick or Treating on Halloween.
The couple’s four children appeared at the door dressed in their costumes, and with no adults there, Bradley couldn’t bring himself to tell the kids about their parents. Instead, he decided to save their Halloween.
He took them out for dinner to each of their favorite places, radioed headquarters and rallied his fellow troopers who ended up throwing an impromptu Halloween party. A sleepover at the State Police barracks kept them busy until their grandmother could drive up from Florida, seven hours away.
Only after giving the kids happy Halloween memories, and with the grandmother finally there, was the painful news broken to the children.
He told reporters afterward that he had come to love the children. Although he’d already gone above and beyond his responsibilities as a law enforcement officer, he wanted to do more.
He set up a GoFundMe page for Justin, Amiah, Daimean, and Trayvion, hoping to raise $7,000 so their parents’ remains could be sent to Florida, near their new home with grandma. When the total started skyrocketing, Bradley asked that anything beyond that amount to go toward a college fund.
Nine days later, more than 12,000 people have donated nearly a half million dollars to the Howard orphans.
(WATCH the NBC News video) — Photo: NBC News video