DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — A restaurant in Dandridge held a spaghetti dinner to benefit the family of 65-year-old Michael Williams, who died in a crash resulting from a drag race in January.
Williams’s two grandchildren were also in the car and were critically injured. The dinner raised more than $20,000 for the family.
Williams’s daughter, Nikki Tucker, said he was a frequent customer at Owen’s Restaurant during his fishing trips. She said the fundraiser is going to help fund her children’s recovery.
“It helps so much, from having to take time off work, to the medical bills, to my kids both probably needing plastic surgery. I mean it’s going to help and make this nightmare one less thing I have to worry about,” Tucker said.
Jennifer Bates is one of the owners of Owen’s Restaurant, and when she heard about his death she wanted to do something to help the family.
“As soon as we knew that something had happened, we reached out to Nikki and let her know we would do whatever she wanted. For us, holding a dinner is easy, we’re a restaurant we’re used to it,” Bates said. “So, she gave us a date as soon as the kids were out of the hospital and here we are today.”
The event ran from 12-4 p.m. Sunday, and the restaurant was packed with people. Bates said she wasn’t surprised by the big turnout at the event.
“If you knew Mike, you didn’t hesitate to be here today, and if you’re a part of this community you don’t hesitate to be here. I’ve had the restaurant four years, and anytime we’ve asked them to do something, they’ve come out more than expected,” Bates said.
Tucker said her dad was a dedicated father and grandfather.
“He just was an amazing man, selfless doesn’t even describe him. You could call him anytime and he’d be there for you. He was just one of those people, one of the only people, that I had in my life that I could always depend on,” Tucker said.
She also thanked the community for the support they’ve shown her family.
“From the bottom of my heart, as a daughter and a mom, I just want to say thank you. I can’t even say how much it means to have everyone praying for my babies, it just means so much,” Tucker said.
The family is also accepting donations through a GoFundMe set up by Tucker’s cousin.