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Danny's Year of Recovery

$71,263 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 462 people in 10 months
Created June 13, 2018
If you knew Danny and Vicki, you loved them. Maybe that sounds cliché, but when it came to the two of them, it was true. The countless friends, coworkers, acquaintances they have would confirm it. But even more impressive, is the people who know them best, their family, would tell you that too. The closer you got to them, the more of them there was to love. The more you found to admire. The more you found to look up to. The more you wished you could exhibit in your own life and relationships the love and compassion, the empathy and generosity, they did.

So when news of Vicki’s sudden passing in a tragic car accident Saturday, June 9, 2018 began to make it’s way through their church community at Browns Bridge and North Point, through others churches in the Southeast Danny has ministered at over the years,
through their professional community at Delta, and through their friends and family in Cumming, Georgia, their home for 18 years, it was devastating. Devastating imagining the world without Vicki, and devastating imagining Danny without her and how life from here on out might look.

Which is why we’ve created this page. To give the people who know Danny and Vicki a chance to tangibly help Danny in the upcoming year as he begins to make his way into a new normal with Vicki gone.

The Accident
Saturday morning Danny and Vicki left their home to head to Florida to serve at Lighthouse Family Retreats, an organization committed to ministering to family’s with children suffering from cancer. Danny a professional musician on the side, would be providing the music for them, and Vicki, in addition to loving Lighthouse and their ministry, also loved being by Danny’s side to watch him do what he was gifted to do in his music, was with him.

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In early afternoon, in Eufaula, Alabama, a truck carrying a boat ran a stop sign pulling out directly in front of Danny and Vicki’s car, making impact unavoidable. Afterwards Danny crawled out through the front windshield of the car, trying to get to Vicki. Being unable to remove
her from the car with his own injuries, two men who had stopped at the scene helped to get Vicki out, and gave her CPR. This ultimately allowed her to stay alive long enough for her whole family to get to the hospital hours later and see her one last time.

When the ambulance arrived, one of the men went with Vicki—a man they discovered later, was actually related to Danny—the grandson of his first cousin. His time with Vicki in the ambulance helped provide the family much understanding of what she and the doctors were up against with the injuries she sustained.

Between the ambulance ride and the life flight to Columbus, Vicki’s heart stopped several times leaving her brain without oxygen for a total of 17-20 minutes. In Columbus, Anna and Phil were able to see Vicki before she went back into surgery to address the most immediate injuries. Anna prayed over her mom and with the doctors who would operate on her.

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Following Vicki’s surgery, once the kids arrived, they all went back to see Vicki together. The time they had around Vicki’s bedside remains one of the greatest gifts of a horrific day. While there, Danny, in his characteristic way, continued to love on Vicki and his family, recalling
memories, offering encouragement, and remaining a pillar of strength.

“I would do it all 1,000 times over again,” Danny told his kids, pointing to each one of them, telling them, “It’s worth it. It hurts so bad because we loved so good.”

Not long after these moments together, following unimaginably tragic circumstances, Vicki passed away.

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Vicki’s Legacy
The sum of Vicki’s life is found in the literal thousands of people she impacted. In every relationship she maintained a sense of what was important, loving people exactly as they needed to be loved.

There was such an amazing joy in all Vicki did. She lived life with enthusiasm encouraging others to not take for granted what was right in front of you because you didn’t know if it would be there tomorrow. Her legacy is a testimony to how well she did this herself. In a dark season for the family, there is no regret over things left unsaid or feelings not communicated. Vicki never left anyone wondering how she felt because she told her family every chance she could how much she loved them, to fight for what’s important, and find joy in it all.

Maybe most obvious to everyone, was Danny and Vicki’s love for each other. Whatever they had in front of them and wherever they were, one thing was true, they did it together. Over the past four decades they have toured the country together as Danny performed music, invested years of their lives at Bigstuf Camps, served hundred of families at Lighthouse Retreat, raised April, Adam and Anna, their three amazing kids, became massive Disney World fans, and corralled eight grandbabies.
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People may have been more familiar with Danny since he was the one on the stage, but that was just the way Vicki wanted it. She never wanted to be up front, but it was because of her constant behind the scenes presence, her steadfast showing up to sit in the front row of Danny’s shows for his Christian rock band H.I.S. in the early days, even with three young kids in tow, that Danny was able to do what he did.

Vicki jumped into everything with both feet. From meeting Danny’s family and committing to learn sign language so she was able to communicate with them directly (specifically when it came to shopping with his mom and the art of finding a good deal) to making family vacation memories while camping out, or at different summer camps Danny was playing at a memorable experience for the kids, she had one mode: all in.

And those that knew her knew her 4’11 frame was hiding a force to be reckoned with. Danny loved how her slight stature made him feel big, but the truth was, that was what Vicki was good at—making everyone around her bigger due to the constant support, encouragement and love she offered them. In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” And that was how Vicki lived. To the full. And Danny and Vicki together mastered it. In how they embraced life together, in how they lavished love and support to everyone they encountered, in how they prioritized their family above all else.

The Next Steps
The response to come alongside Danny and the family in the wake of Vicki’s death was immediate and the question: “what can we do to help?” has resurfaced over and over.

People directly touched by Danny and Vicki’s lives have instinctively reached out to do what they could. The first few days following an unexpected death are a whirlwind, making it hard to even know
what to ask for. But a few days in, it’s become clear what matters more than anything.

Danny’s recovery.
Due to the accident there are legal costs to consider and fees to pay, creating both mental and financial burdens, not to mention being unable to perform as a musician with a broken wrist and as a flight attendant with a torn rotator cuff. All of these would be overwhelming on their own, but coupled with the loss of his wife of 39 years, the road ahead for Danny is sure to be difficult.

Which is why we want to do all we can to make Danny’s holistic recovery possible. After meeting
with a financial counselor and talking through what a year of expenses would look like, taking into consideration everything that came along with this accident and the complications of it happening out of state, the goal for a year of financial help comes to $100,000.

We want Danny to begin walking this next chapter of his life free from as many burdens as possible—the day to day things like yard work, meal concerns, house cleaning—but also the medical bills, funeral expenses and legal costs that will continue to add up in the coming months.

So to answer the question that has come up over and over again, as people near and far touched by Vicki’s life and Vicki and Danny’s ministry, of what to do, we’ve created this page to raise
money for Danny’s year of recovery. This will be what Danny will live on in the next months as he and the family figure out a new normal. And in giving, the community that loves both he and Vicki will offer a tangible way to show their love and give back the blessing the Duke’s have been to so many.

In addition, 10% of all of the money raised here will go to Lighthouse Family Retreat, the ministry Danny and Vicki were headed to serve at the morning of the accident, and the ministry that has so much of their hearts.

We would be so grateful for any help you are able to offer and understand not everyone is in a position to give, but are so appreciative of those who are and do. The family has already seen God tangibly at work in aftermath of their family’s tragedy and are so thankful for the Church. Though Vicki is gone, we are confident that the story and legacy of her life are far from over, and continuing to watch her memory be honored helps tend the wound her absence here has left.
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$71,263 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 462 people in 10 months
Created June 13, 2018
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