Charlotte brothers killed in crash to be honored through Haitian school

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was an especially uplifting day at Forest Hill Church in Ballantyne Sunday.

The church’s senior pastor, David Chadwick, preached his sermon from the campus and afterward called fellow campus pastor Gentry Eddings and his wife Hadley onto the stage.

Monday will mark one year since the couple were involved in a horrific car crash that claimed the lives of their two small children.

“We believe there’s still another chapter to this story to be written,” Chadwick said while on stage with the Eddings. That chapter is one of hope and promise.

On Sunday, Gentry and Hadley stood before the Ballantyne campus and announced that a school will be built in Haiti in their sons’ honor.

Enough money has been raised to build a primary school in Haiti. The school will be named The Dobbs and Reed Eddings Primary School after their toddler, Dobbs and newborn, Reed.

The siblings died in a wreck last summer on Highway 17 outside of Wilmington.

A box truck slammed into the back of Hadley’s car, which was stopped at a red light. Dobbs died at the scene. Hadley, who was eight months pregnant, underwent an emergency cesarean section, but two days later, baby Reed died.

Since the tragedy, members of the church and those in the community have been raising money for “Mission of Hope Haiti.” The organization is tasked with constructing the school, which will serve 500 children who live in a village called Minoterie. The church’s Ballantyne campus adopted the village three years ago.

Minoterie is a rapidly growing coastal fishing village with an at-risk community in desperate need of education. Many of its residents are families displaced by the earthquake in 2010.

“Thank you, all of you,” Gentry said while on stage. “Thank you for supporting us financially, but also through your prayers and your thoughts.”

Construction will begin in the summer and the school plans to open October 2016.

The president of Mission of Hope Haiti joined the couple on stage. He presented the Eddings with their version of a plaque that will be put on the school once it’s completed.

“Education is a sign of hope,” said Brad Johnson, president of Mission of Hope Haiti. “It gives kids the chance that they would have never had. A chance to end that cycle of poverty.”

Members of the church were equally as touched by the presentation.

“It was very moving,” Cindy Byrum said.

“It was such a great part of this story that we’re seeing written by God,” said Caylene Brown, who serves as the church’s director of local outreach.

Chadwick ended the presentation by looking at the Eddings and assuring them they would see their children again.

“You will see Reed and Dobbs again,” Chadwick said. “And they can’t wait to see you.”

The total cost of the project is $350,000. Officials said $190,000 was collected through donations and just weeks ago the church voted to fund the remaining $160,000 needed for the project.

"Dobbs and Reed Eddings will bring thousands to Jesus in years to come, just like Jesus' death brought life to millions. The impact of their little lives will change Haiti forever," Chadwick said.

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