APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A bride and groom took a brave step in the face of tragedy. After losing a mother and grandmother Friday, Nick and Danielle Eckes went through with their wedding the very next day as a way to honor life and love.
As we've followed since Friday, Nick’s mother, Lynn Eckes and grandmother, Ila Schabow died. His sister and father, Kristin and Kenneth Eckes, were taken to the hospital and are recovering.
A wrong-way driver on Highway 57 near Dyckesville hit another car with four people all related to the groom. The driver going the wrong way, Todd Beyer, 38, also died.
“We found out about it right as we were getting ready for the rehearsal, is when we were told about the deaths, and so we canceled the rehearsal and the dinner,” said Pastor Dan Thews, who officiated the wedding.
On Friday night, Danielle and Nick decided love and life are stronger than death.
“This brave woman just walked down, and as soon as she saw Nick and got up to the front, it was like everything was OK, because he was there, and they just gave each other this giant hug right there before they came up to the front, and I could just tell then that it was going to be OK,” said Pastor Dan.
Pastor Dan said many tears were shed, some happy, some sad, but he's proud of this young couple who stood strong as they said "I do" in Door County.
“That's our hope, that in all of this, that the hardships of life make us stronger, right like the wind that blows the trees, the trees get deep strong roots that way and it works that way with calamities and tragedies and life too and so they'll be stronger,” said Pastor Dan.
Pastor Dan said it will take time, but he's ready to be a guide as Nick and Danielle move forward now as husband and wife.