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Deadly Crash Inspires Hy-Vee To Raise Money For Special Olympics

April 24, 2014, 6:00 PM by Hailey Higgins

Deadly Crash Inspires Hy-Vee To Raise Money For Special Olympics

Some helpful smiles are turning a tragedy into hope while remembering two colleagues and friends.

Brad Johnson and Cody Kollars were driving from Yankton to Sioux Falls when they were in a deadly crash near Irene in February.  The long-time friends were coming home after a Special Olympics Event. Kollars parents want to help the non-profit with money being raised for them at Hy-Vee.

It's been just over two months since Collin and Carrol Kollars heard about a crash that killed their son.

"Cody, he was so outward going," Carrol said. "He was just full of life."

But the pain of the crash is magnified. The car was driven by Brad Johnson, their son's friend, who they took in as their own after both of his parents died.

"I feel like Brad and Cody, the things that God put them here on earth to do, evidently they must have accomplished them and it must have been done and over because God took them," Carrol said.

The two special-needs men worked at local Hy-Vee stores before their death. This week, their store family is raising money for the Kollars.

"Anytime you lose fairly young people in a tragic accident like that, it touches all of us. It brings all of our mortality into our mind and say, 'This could be me tomorrow,'" Hy-Vee Store Director Bob Trader said.

The fundraiser is part of Operation Helpful Smile. Donation boxes are set up at every checkout. Hy-Vee will match all donations up to $2,000.

The Kollars will put every penny in an endowment fund setup in their son's name for the Special Olympics.

"He just enjoyed life," Carrol said. "And I think anybody who met him, even if it was just for a short time, you'd remember him. He was that type of an individual."

The fundraiser for Kollars and Johnson continues through Tuesday at all Sioux Falls Hy-Vee Stores.

Operation Helpful Smile has given nearly two million dollars to more than 100 local non-profit organizations over the last 13 years.

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