HAMILTON, Ohio - A benefit was held at Fairwood Elementary in Hamilton Saturday night for the family of Donnell Holland, a football coach in Hamilton who was murdered last month.
Holland was shot and killed Dec. 28 in the parking lot of a Hamilton bar.
During the benefit, the fourth-grade Silver Hamilton Bulldogs football team chanted in honor of Holland, trying to keep his memory alive. However, Anna McCullah, one of the Bulldogs' "team moms," said it hasn't been easy.
"Obviously, he meant a lot to us," McCullah said. "We're his family too."
Like any family would, she and other fellow team moms organized the benefit to raise money to help with Holland's funeral expenses. The event raised $1,100, surpassing the goal set by event organizers.
Holland's fiancé, Keyonna Spearman, never thought she would have to live through anything like what she's gone through recently.
"It's been hard, but everyone is trying to help us," Spearman said.
As would be expected, Holland's daughter has had a difficult time dealing with the emotions of the situation.
"Every time I want to cry, I remember him telling me, 'Iesha, you're being too sensitive and when I think about it,' it makes me not cry," Holland's daughter Iesha Holland said. "I was doing good by not crying, but seeing all these people here, I cried. It's sad. I miss my dad. I miss him so much."
So do his seven other children.
"He was my role model," Holland's son, also named Donnell Holland, said. "It hasn't been easy since he's been killed."
While the children on his football team weren't his own, they meant the world to him, and he meant the world to them.
"He was an asset on the field as well as off the field," team mom Rachel McCoy said. "The kids looked up to him."
The team moms plan to hold another benefit in the spring.
You can learn more about how you can help the Holland family by visiting the Donnell Holland Facebook page.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.