Benefit Raises $25,000 For Family - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Benefit Raises $25,000 For Family

Community comes together for family of hit-and-run victim Walter "Buddy" Hopkins



    Family and friends hold benefit for family of Walter "Buddy" Hopkins, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash. (Published Saturday, June 30, 2012)

    A hit-and-run tragedy that touched a north Fort Worth neighborhood, brought the community together on Saturday.

    Walter “Buddy” Hopkins was hit and killed by a pick-up truck driver earlier this month while out for his morning run. Friends from Hopkins’ Sendera Ranch Subdivision rallied to raise money for his wife and four kids.

    There was an outpouring of support for the grieving family. 

    "Buddy was loved by everyone," said Kristen Schropp, Hopkins’ co-worker at Kiewit Infrastructure Group. 

    Buddy Hopkins is missed as a husband, father, neighbor, and co-worker. 

    "You can tell how great of a person he is, how great his family is by everything you see here," said Schropp.

    Those people, whose lives he touched, are now coming together to raise money for the Hopkins family. They’re now struggling without him. 

    "Buddy was the main income for the family. That’s a big loss right there," said neighbor Frank Valtierra.

    There was a helicopter, fire trucks, raffle, yard sale, and a moment of silence. People of all ages endured the heat. They know every little bit means so much.

    "It's a very stressful day for Heather and the family," said family friend Mario Melendon. 

    Buddy’s wife and kids couldn’t attend the benefit. As people are raising money for the family, they’re in Arizona for Buddy’s funeral. 

    Friends say it’s a day filled with sadness and gratitude for Hopkins’ wife, Heather.  "She wanted to let everyone know how appreciative they are for everyone’s efforts. People they know and don’t know," said Melendon.

    Hopkins had been out for a morning run earlier this month and never made it home. Police say he was hit and killed by a pick-up truck driver. As police closed in on the owner of the suspected vehicle this week, they discovered he hanged himself. 

    "Heather, bless her heart, she had no ill-will feelings toward the person who did this, just compassion. She taught us a lot of compassion and grace and mercy. We’re just feeling off her," said Valtierra.

    There’s another event coming up to honor the avid runner and help the Hopkins family. 

    On August 4 at 9 a.m. there will be a 5k “Buddy Run” through the Sendera Ranch neighborhood near Haslet where Hopkins was killed and the family lives. 

    Click here for a link to the Buddy Run.