FREEPORT (WIFR) -- Family and friends gather for a day of music, food, and shopping to remember the Freeport mom killed after an alleged domestic dispute with her boyfriend earlier this year.
Friends say Melissa Nickel loved to dress up, and would have enjoyed browsing the stalls during an event in her memory on Saturday at the Freeport Eagles Club.
"Today is a good day but every day is difficult without her, she was part of my everyday life. I miss her so much," says Staci Aden, who knew Melissa Nickel since the 2nd grade.
The event at the Eagles Club went on all day Saturday and included shopping, raffles, and live music. It was all a fundraiser for Nickel's two daughters, young girls now growing up without a mom. The 31-year-old was killed back in April; police say Nickel’s boyfriend Kevin Scott pulled the trigger. He’s in the Stephenson County jail charged with Nickel's murder. He has pled not guilty and will be back before a judge in late September.
"It’s great that everyone is pulling together for the girls, but nothing’s going to bring her back," says Aden.
Sorrow mingled with joy as Nickel’s friends got to share some of their happiest memories with Nickel’s mother Linda Graham. She is now raising Nickel’s 14-year-old daughter in Freeport. Nickel’s younger daughter is being raised by her dad.
"Throughout the day and night it’s going to be a great time to meet everyone that knew her and how much they cared about her," says Linda Graham.
Nickel’s friends say just as important as the jewelry and handbags on sale for the fundraisers were the pamphlets and information on display from Voices, a center in Freeport that helps victims of domestic violence.
"There are a lot of people out there going through this and everyone needs to be aware of it,” says Aden. “Nobody ever thought he was capable of doing this and it happened. It’s something that can’t be taken lightly."
Those who knew Nickel best say they're grateful that the community has rallied to help her two girls even if they never knew her. The money raised will be put into a trust fund for the girls; they won’t be able to touch it until they are 21. It will be used to help them go to college.