Girl who lost dad in Iraq has special daddy-daughter dance - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Girl who lost dad in Iraq has special daddy-daughter dance

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Marlee with her grandfather Marlee with her grandfather
Marlee and friends ready for their limo ride Marlee and friends ready for their limo ride
Little Marlee with her father Little Marlee with her father
Marlee visiting her father's grave Marlee visiting her father's grave

It was a night to remember for Marlee Eckert of Waterville. Local first responders and military officers lined a red carpet to welcome the 10-year-old to her final Winter Ball at Waterville Elementary School.

They did it in honor of her father, their brother in uniform, who was killed in action in Iraq. The Winter Ball is traditionally known as the father-daughter dance and is held around the time of her father's birthday.

Her mother Tiffany Eckert  says Marlee missed her father keenly around dance time. "It's always been sort of a bone of contention and really a source of stress and anxiety for her."

Some members of the latest Toledo Fire Department graduating class say they feel a special bond with Marlee. They recently lost Private Jamie Dickman, who also left behind children.

Adam Bevitr of TFD said, "The support that we got from Toledo and everyone surrounding, I think we can kind of relate to it a little."

Marlee was also treated to donated spa services, dinner and a limo ride with friends.

The other girls attending the dance also enjoyed the warm welcome on the red carpet.

In the past, the dance has been a difficult time, but Marlee was non-stop smiles at the event.

Marlee said, "It was overwhelming at first. I want to thank all of the people who put this together."

Marlee's grandpa made a special trip to escort her to the dance.

The most amazing part of the special night, the community was able to pull it all together in less than one week.

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