Their plans were set.
Robert Hackart would come to York City from Long Neck, Del., to find a construction job and a house for his family.
His girlfriend Brandy Jo Hershey, who was pregnant, would eventually move with their two daughters from Long Neck to York to live with Hackart.
"And then everything you work hard for and try to build just came crashing down all at once," said Hackart, 27. "Now I'm trying to be a mom and a dad. But I can't fill their mom's shoes. But I know God and Brandy will show us the way."
Hershey, formerly of Dallastown, died May 26, several days after suffering a brain aneurysm while staying with her father, Scott Hershey, in Long Neck. She was 27.
When she was stricken, Hershey was six months pregnant and had planned to come to York after giving birth. Physicians were able to save the baby by Caesarian section.
Hackart said that with the help of his family in York, he is raising his daughters, Courtney, 9, Danielle, 6, and the newborn, Jasmine.
Benefit: He has received some financial help through a benefit concert held last Friday at The Valley Tavern in Seven Valleys, where Hershey's uncle Dale Gladfelter and his band, Red Beard and Friends, performed. Scott Hershey's sister, Toni, is married to Gladfelter.
More than $1,350 has been raised, and the tavern plans to continue collecting donations for the family for the next two weeks, said Meg Fullerton, the tavern's co-owner.
"I asked (Gladfelter) to play at the tavern, and
he asked if he could make it a benefit concert for his niece," she said. "When he told me what happened, he had me right there, because my mother died of a brain aneurysm."
Both Hackart and Scott Hershey said that while they were not able to attend the concert, they are thankful for the tavern and the people who donated money to help the family.
For the kids: Hackart said the money he receives will be used to meet the everyday expenses for raising children, including buying school clothes and supplies for Courtney and Danielle.
He said the money also will be used to pay medical expenses for Jasmine, who recently had a heart monitor removed. The baby has grown to more than 8 pounds.
Hackart said he has held off on getting a job in order to help his daughters deal with their mother's death and to keep a close watch on the baby's health.
Hackart said he is coping with the shock and pain of losing the love of his life, the mother of his beautiful daughters, and the best friend he's known for 15 years.
"It's hard to accept," Hackart said. "I just don't understand why, how. But the biggest thing of it is I have a responsibility and I have to maintain that responsibility."
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions to benefit the daughters of Robert Hackart and the late Brandy Jo Hershey can be dropped off at or mailed to The Valley Tavern, 1 Cherry St., Seven Valleys, 17360. Checks should be made out to Brandy Jo Hershey Memorial. Call the tavern at 428-2611.