HERRIN — Friends and family of Amber Mitchell will host a celebration of life benefit at noon Sunday, Jan. 14, at Teddy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Herrin. Mitchell, of West City and a former Herrin resident, was driving home early Dec. 30 when she was hit by a driver fleeing Herrin police.
A Herrin woman fled from Herrin police early Saturday morning and struck another vehicle, killing herself and the driver of the other vehicle.
Proceeds will go toward funeral expenses and a trust fund for Mitchell’s 11-month-old daughter, Adrianna. The celebration will include lunch plates of barbecue, baked beans, slaw and chips with a bottle of water for $10, or two plates for $18. The lunch is sponsored, so all of the money will go toward fundraising.
Music will start at about 1 p.m. and run through 7 p.m. Bands will include local musicians Clayton Gribble, Corey Evitts, John Ryan, Matt Basler, Dave Clark, Chris Sloan and Kali Lyn. A silent auction and raffle also are planned.
Dara Spiller Dye, one of the organizers of the celebration, said she, Mitchell, Sarah Sanders and Karlie Williams have known one another since they were about 5 years old.
“Three of us are doing the fundraiser for Amber," Dye said. "The four of us grew up together. We’ve kept very close throughout the years."
Dye, Williams and Mitchell were in Girl Scouts together from age 5 until they were freshmen in high school. Mitchell’s mother, the late Sue Mitchell, served as their Girl Scout leader.
Dye said her friend was one of those people who could always make you feel better if you had a hard day or needed a smile.
“Her smile was absolutely contagious, and so was her laugh," Dye said. "No matter what she was going through, she tried to make sure others had a good day."
Mitchell always had a memory to share or a jokes to make friends smile.
Mitchell was adopted when she was four days old by Mark W. and Susan Lee (Clark) Mitchell. Both parents preceded her in death.
When Mitchell’s car was struck, her daughter, Adrianna, was also in the car. She was not injured. “She actually turns 1 at the end month,” Dye said.
Dye said the three friends approached 28 businesses, and 22 of them knew Mitchell or donated. Dye said it was very moving, and thanked the Herrin community for its generosity.
“We just want everybody to know we are doing everything we can for her daughter and in memory of her,” Dye added.
Dye said children are allowed at Teddy’s during the daytime hours. Also, carryouts will be available for those who prefer to eat at home.
They have done one more thing to honor their friend and make sure everyone gets home safely — as a result, designated drivers will be available in honor of Mitchell for those who choose to drink and may need a ride home. They will have stickers identifying them as drivers.
For more information, visit Gone but not forgotten; The Amber Mitchell Benefit page on Facebook. To donate directly to the trust fund for Adriana, email John Dye at Jondye92@gmail.com.