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When two young children lost their parents, the Red Deer community came together to support them and the grandparents raising them.

Brent and Nicole Keryluke, aged 35 and 34, left behind two children when they were killed after the motorcycle they were driving collided with a truck.

Brent’s parents, Ben and Marilyn Keryluke, are now the primary caretakers of six-year-old Arielle and three-year-old Liam.

Why One Man Was Forced to Sell His Son’s 1973 Pontiac Parisienne

orange car in a garage
Photo by Alina Rubo on Unsplash

The couple didn’t want to sell their late son’s 1973 Pontiac Parisienne, which he repaired and refurbished and hoped to pass on to his children, but being suddenly faced with raising two grandchildren with special needs forced them to.

Arielle and Liam have trouble hearing and need regular visits to speech therapists and audiologists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.

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“I was semi-retired… I thought I might be able to make it by. And then now we’ve got two children to raise,” Ben Keryluke told CBC’s As It Happens. “And we can’t very well go back to work because when you’re 66 years old and you’re raising little children, it takes up all of your time.”

So they took their son’s prized car to Electric Garage Auctions, hoping to earn at least $14,000.

What happened next didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.

What Strangers Did for One Grieving Family at an Auction

black gavel on a black table
Photo by Sora Shimazaki

The auction house had promoted the item in local media and shared the family’s story and the community came out in full force.

When the auctioneer introduced the item, he once again shared the tragedy with the audience.

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“They told the story of why it was being sold and that we wanted to keep the car, but unfortunately, if you can’t, you can’t,” Keryluke said. “Then they started the auction and what happened from there was nothing short of amazing.”

The bids soared past the family’s expectations and the car sold for $29,000 to Rod McWilliams from Red Deer Motors. But instead of driving off in his new classic car, McWilliams donated the car back to the auction house so it could go back on the block immediately.

The second time around it sold for $30,000 to Danny Fayad from Edmonton, who also gave it back.

Finally, it sold for $20,000 to Bob Bevins from Bulldog Metals, who returned the car, at no cost, to the Kerylukes.

It had way more sentimental value to that family than me owning another classic car.

Bob Bevins told Global News

How Strangers Proved the Importance of Community

many people putting their palms on top of each other
Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro

Other community members pledged donations to the family to raise the final tally. So far the family has earned $100,000 from the auction — and they got to keep the car.

Not only will the money help provide financial security for the children, Keryluke said it also eases the grieving process.

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“It helps a lot and knowing that there are people out there that care as much as they do and would want to help you out in a situation like this,” he said to CBC’s As It Happens.

Keryluke said they’ll take care of the car and only take it out for the occasional Sunday drive until Arielle and Liam are grown up and can enjoy their father’s car.

And they’ll always be reminded of how the community came together to support them when they lost their parents.

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Come together
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” – Helen Keller