FISHERS — “Love everybody hard”: It is a sentiment shared by the families at the Celebration of Life Saturday night for Brianna Foster and Elle and Belle Gaddis. The same sentiment was shared by the hundreds of people who came out to the Nickel Plate District Amphitheatre.
The lawn was packed with neighbors, coworkers, friends and family wearing bright colors and sitting in lawn chairs. The evening was filled with shared laughs, tears and hugs as the community listened to family and friends speak about the three teenagers.
Emotions were raw, but the community support was undeniably strong for these two families.
Police say Foster and the twin Gaddis girls were killed after a drunk driver hit them head-on in South Carolina early Monday morning. Throughout the week, the Central Indiana community has come together to support the two families during some of their darkest days.
Ahead of the memorial event in Fishers, the Crabby Apple in Pendleton collected money for the two families. The owner, Andrew Christianson, said he wanted to bring the community together after the tragedy and hoped to raise upwards of $5,000 for the two families.
On Friday night, the Hamilton Southeastern Community came together to honor seniors, Elle and Belle, and recent grad, Brianna, ahead of a football game. Earlier this week, Jack's Donuts in Fishers also held a fundraiser where 100% of the sales went to the victim's families. The small business said it raised $6,000 for the families.
A GoFundMe set up by friends of the girls raised close to $150,000 as of Saturday night.
Elle and Belle Gaddis were said to be “the light of all lights.” Their blended family spoke about their legacies at the celebration of life, saying the two simply loved life. The twins both worked at a Fishers daycare called “Little Explorers Preschool.” The team came out in tie-dye shirts to show their support and told WRTV they continue to reel from the pain of the tragedy.
“One thing we keep saying is they were very tiny in size, but their hearts were far bigger than what should’ve been in their little bodies. They loved so big and they would just do anything for anyone,” Little Explorers Preschool owner Lori Lorenz said.
On stage, the twin’s father, Andy Gaddis, spoke alongside his son Ayden. “I thought that I had another year to sort of warm up to the idea that my girls would be off to school shortly and then I’d have to build a life for myself because my life has been consumed with theirs. It’s kind of been a tightly woven tapestry and it’s a tapestry I love and it’s a tapestry that didn’t get finished.”
Foster’s mother, Jodi and sister, Hayley, spoke on stage together through tears and hugs. The 18-year-old was said to have loved butterflies. The mother and daughter shared Foster was a sweet, selfless and kind-hearted young woman. Her sister added she always had a smile on her face.
“As many of you already know, to know Bri was to love her. There are so many things I wish I got to say to you before you were taken too soon,” Hayley Foster said of her sister.
Her mother, Jodi added: “I don’t know what to do or to say. I am in complete denial. I hope as you are looking down on us, you see how much you are adored and so, so loved.”
Both families also spoke about the only survivor of the crash and extended their love and support to her.
Several friends of the girls also spoke and shared memories. A fireworks display ended the evening.