FORT MYERS, Fla.- It's been almost two months since South Fort Myers salesman Ryan Vanderson was brutally killed inside his home. His accused killer, Brian Casey, is now behind bars. But today, the community is coming together to help Vanderson's family with finances.
It's a day of food, fun, and friends. But today's bash at the U.S. 41 Hooters is going toward a good cause: helping a family blind-sided by tragedy start over.
"She needs to get out on her feet and start a new life for herself and the only way to do it is to raise a bunch of money for her," event organizer Angie Glynn said Saturday.
Hooters hosted the first-ever fundraising event, aiming to raise at least $15,000 dollars for Vanderson's widow, and two-year daughter.
"I mean it's unbelievable. It's just a true testament to what good people my brother was and good people and Patty and the whole family is. All the support has been fantastic," Ryan's stepbrother, Shane Vanderson, said during the event.
Organizers drew in dollars through ticket sales, raffles, and a silent auction. Most of the gifts were donated by local retailers.
"We went to different businesses and asked them for donations and they didn't hesitate. They were like here, how much do you need? let's do this," Glynn said.
The generosity didn't stop there- hundreds came out to the big event, reaching into their pockets and opening their hearts to help a family heal.
"Being around people who knew Ryan and knew the type of person that he was, is helpful," Vanderson said Saturday.
37-year old Brian Casey is currently being held with no bond at Lee County Jail, accused of first degree murder and arson in connection to Vanderson's death.
Casey is also accused of killing another Lee County man just days after Vanderson's murder.