Young mother remembered for joy she brought to family, friends
May 28, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.
News about an explosion in Oak Colony Estates had Mary Helen Barrick shaking in the driver's seat.
She tried to call her daughter, Haley Singer, as she drove from her home in Yoakum to the neighborhood shaken by the blast.
"They wouldn't let me in when I got there," Barrick said. Authorities had blocked off the neighborhood as they investigated the scene where her daughter's home once stood.
The two-story home the young couple lived in was flattened by a blast that is still under investigation. Area law enforcement and firefighters responded to the call about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Singer, 26, was found dead by authorities at the scene, and her 41/2-month-old daughter, Parker, was found buried under about 12 feet of rubble.
"God literally put his arms and wrapped them around her," Barrick said of her granddaughter.
She has heard about Parker's status from her son-in-law, Travis, 29, who is in San Antonio with his baby. Parker suffered only a few scratches, she said, but doctors were continuing tests to be safe.
She said her daughter and son-in-law shared an interest in outdoor activities. Travis got Haley interested in hunting, Barrick said, and they would have included Parker if she were older.
"But it didn't matter what they did as long as they were together," she said of her daughter's family. "She loved her husband and her daughter more than anything in the world. They brought so much joy and happiness to her."
Haley was a speech language pathologist with DeTar Healthcare System. Barrick said she loved her job and cared dearly for each patient.
"I have never been more proud of a young woman than I was of her," Barrick said. "She was the biggest accomplishment I ever had in my life."
Memorial Day was the last time she saw her daughter's sweet smile when Travis and Haley hosted a barbecue at their home for friends and family.
"She loved her friends," Barrick said. "She didn't even know how to be mean. She couldn't be mean if she wanted to."
Haley was part of a tightly knit group of friends that included Samantha Johnson, 26; Julie Innocenti, 25; Paige Nyegaard, 25; and Lynlea Canion, 25.
They shared the same love for Haley as Barrick and described her as a devoted mother, wife, daughter and friend. She was an amazing friend, they wrote in an email. Her beautiful blue eyes and gorgeous smile would always light up a room, they said.
"She was an extremely happy woman, and she will be missed by everyone who knew her. She was taken way too soon, and we will miss growing old together," the friends wrote. "Our group will always have a piece of us missing without Haley around."
They went on to write that they would miss spending girls nights together with Haley and sharing life's big moments with her.
The ladies were touched by the generosity of the community as well when a GoFundMe account was started to support Travis and Parker during their time of need. The online account was created by another friend of Haley's, Kacie Schmidt Balfanz. As of Wednesday night, the fund had generated more than $30,000 in donations.
"We appreciate all the support from family, friends and complete strangers. Travis, Parker and their families will need continued prayers and encouragement through this difficult time," the friends wrote.
Barrick wasn't initially aware of the fund but was proud to hear of the community's support.
With Parker in the hospital and Travis by her side, Barrick said, she is happy to know the community is reaching out to help take care of them.
"She left a precious little one behind," she said. "I know she would want everyone to take care of Travis and Parker."