In June 2011, Sean Barrett ruined his family. He murdered his wife Rochelle and his 60-year prison sentenced essentially orphaned their two children. Rochelle's family pulled together to provide a solid base for the children.
Rochelle, "Rocky" to friends and family, was raising two children when she was murdered. They now live with an aunt in Kansas, but were back in the metro Saturday for a volleyball tournament.
The kids bring a lot of enthusiasm to the tournament, but most of the excitement is about seeing old friends who have moved away because of circumstances beyond their control.
Kim Nelson says, "There have been hard times, how could there not be hard times, but they have endured and they are straight 'A' honor roll children."
The hard times started long before the night their father murdered their mother, but it all came to a head in June of last year when Sean murdered Rocky in their garage. The kids were home at the time.
When Barrett was sentenced to 60 years in the state pen, the kids went to live with their aunt, but the entire extended family is raising them.
Michelle Stevens says, "We've been brought together through a horrible tragedy and we are all very close now and we love each other."
The tournament is a way to help Kim's family pay for the cost of raising two additional children. The kids’ needs are being met, but school, food and health costs add up quickly, especially for teenagers.
"They are happy and they miss their mom and honestly I know they miss the family they had, but at the same time they are ready and continue to push forward," said Nelson. "This is a new family, this is a strong, happy family."
Rocky's son is now 13 years old and her daughter is just about to turn 15. The family tells Channel 6 News they are doing as well as can be expected.
If you would like to help Rocky's family out you can do so by sending a donation to: Holy Cross Parish, 4810 Woolworth Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska 68106. Just mark the envelope "Rocky's Kids Benefit."