Town’s “big heart” on display for toddler & great-grandmother killed


GREEN RIVER Wyoming (ABC4 Utah) – A southwest Wyoming town is showing its love for two who were killed by an alleged drunk driver.

One-year old Stella Doak and her great-grandmother Debra Devries were buried Monday in a private funeral that attracted hundreds of friends and community members.

They were urged to wear purple or bright colors according to a message on Stella’s obituary. It was Stella’s favorite color according to her mother.

But the support by the community went beyond the color purple.  Several funraisers were planned or  being planned.  There’s talk that two contracgtors will be fixing up Devries home.

“I’ve always said this is a small community with a big heart,” said Al Harris, CEO of Radio Network.

And for now, Green River Wyoming’s heart is broken after the tragic loss of one-year old Stella and her great-grandmother.

But coming together is what small town do during times like this.

“Everybody knows this family,” said Harris. “Everybody knows somebody who knows the family or are related to them.  And so everybody gets touched.”

Both Doak and Devries were killed when an alleged drunk driver crashed his vehicle into Devries’ home.   Other family who were also inside survived.

Even strangers came to the funeral. Stephanie Canfield knew what they’re going through.  She too lost a child.

“Just the heart of losing a child and I’ve been there,” she said.

Peter Zmiric also attended.  He didn’t know the family either but felt like he had to be there.

“I decided to wake up and go up here just to pay respects because I know they’re going through a lot right now,”  he said.

Throughout the community, there were signs of support.  Purple ribbons dotted Shoshone Avenue.   At Domino’s Pizza where Stella’s parents worked, corporate brought in outside workers to get through the business day.

“We’re pitching in,” said Zach Vogel who works for Dominos in Riverton. “We’re volunteering our  time, extra hours to come down and to make sure they are taken care of.  We’re all together. We’re one big team.”

Despite saying good-bye, the heart of a baby will continue to beat somewhere.

Last week, the Doaks said Stella’s organs would be donated.  And now Baby Stella’s baby heart will continue to beat a joyful rhythm for some other child.

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