A crash near Renner on Christmas Eve claimed the life of Thomas Hinz from Baltic, turning what was meant to be a festive holiday season into tragedy.
It all started with a trip into Sioux Falls.
"He went to go get himself an acoustic guitar and some shopping and then was coming home," Thomas' father, Troy Hinz, said.
It didn't take long for his family to realize that something had gone terribly wrong.
"Troy and I just finished wrapping his Christmas present, and the news came on. We knew it was him. We'd been trying to call him," Thomas' step-mom, Sandy Hinz, said.
The entire family is still struggling with the loss, and Thomas' mother, step-mother and sister tried to return to the spot of the crash to begin the healing.
"We went out there, my daughter took us out there and, what can you say? It was terrible," Sandy said.
His friends and family say that Thomas was one of the most selfless people they ever knew, someone who would give the shirt off his back to you if you needed it.
"Probably the most generous person that I think I've ever known, he was a protector. Most of his classmates would attest to that. Most of all, he was a wonderful father," Troy said.
Thomas was the father to one-year-old Samuel, who will now grow up with only photos to remind him of his dad.
His friends are doing what they can to properly remember Thomas, and for the funeral, the pallbearers will be wearing shirts with the name of his favorite band.
"He loved Nirvana, he listened to them all the time and a lot of the music was very, very important to him and it spoke to him and that means a lot to us," close friend Taylor Brobjorg said.
There will never be a way to replace a man like Thomas, but it helps the family to know that more people see their son, brother and friend as one of a kind.