BROOKSVILLE — Michelle and Andrew Russell Grady were expecting the birth of their first child in January but a freak accident Sept. 8 has shattered the Brooksville couple's dreams.
Andrew Grady and a friend went out in Hudson to celebrate the impending birth but the two apparently had a disagreement and went their separate ways. For reasons still unclear, Grady lay down in the southbound lane of U.S. 19, where at roughly 10:40 p.m., a car struck and killed him, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Friends of the grieving Michelle are hoping to lift her spirits and help her prepare for her child by throwing her a baby shower Thursday. They are inviting the entire community to participate.
"She has nothing for the baby so far," said Hillary Lynch, who is organizing the shower with her co-workers at Debbie's Hair Gallery in Brooksville.
Michelle, a Debbie's customer for eight or nine years, "is just a sweet, sweet person," Lynch said.
Michelle, 37, graduated in April from Pasco-Hernando Community College with an associate's degree in accounting. She has put off for a year enrolling for a bachelor's degree at the University of Tampa until after the baby arrives.
Andrew was self-employed at Grady's Air Conditioning and Heating, while Michelle supplemented the family's income by selling Avon products. The working couple had self-paid health insurance but no life insurance. The mother-to-be is pursuing Medicaid assistance.
The Gradys had been renovating a Cracker house in Brooksville, which is still without finished flooring and interior paint. Also lacking is a crib and all the necessary infant accoutrements: stroller, bathtub, blankets, towels, clothing and toys.
Lynch hopes the community will turn out from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Rising Sun Cafe, 10 Main St. in Brooksville, and bring some of the necessities.
There will also be a silent auction for items donated by local businesses, the money to go toward the purchase of other baby needs.
"We're hoping everybody will come," said Lynch, noting the cafe has hosted parties of more than 100.
The cafe is donating the facility for the evening, Chick-fil-A is providing refreshments, Lady Bug Florist will furnish floral arrangements and Celebrations by Carrie will supply additional decorations.
Auction donors to date include Lady Bug Florist, Paper Port, Hot Wheels, Movie Buffs and Sexy Creations.
More auction items are needed and can be dropped off at Debbie's Hair Gallery, 304 N Broad St.
An account — in the name of the Family of Andy Grady — has been established at CenterState Bank, Brooksville, for financial contributions.
For additional information on the baby shower, call Lynch at 397-6715.
Beth Gray can be reached at email@example.com.