He’s a dad who lost his daughter when she was at the prime of her youth, just 21 years old. Abbie Deloach was one of five nursing students from Georgia Southern University who died in a horrific crash on I-16 in April of 2015.
Her father, Jimmy Deloach tells us Abbie would have been 23 today. In her honor, he made the first official gift from a foundation in her name. The gift of $30,000 went to their church, Compassion Christian for its global outreach fund.
Deloach says Abbie would be happy about the gift and the foundation which is designed to serve others. “She just had that innate ability to recognize you know the need to reach out to a person,” he told me.
Deloach says he still works through grief. “It’s just the depth of pain is so huge,” he says. But on Abbie’s birthday there was also joy in helping others. “And from just knowing Abby and what her expectation was – a foundation was set up to where she is going to touch a lot of people,” says Deloach.
He told us his daughter’s commitment to her church and to others was real. In 2015, shortly before her death Abbie and her father were planning a mission trip to China. He ended up making the trip alone. “We went over there and and stayed for two weeks and the whole time I was there I could hear an echo – Dad, I’m right here Dad, I’m right here,” Deloach said.
He showed me a page from his Bible which he wrote on 23 years ago on February 2, 1994. “It was a beautiful day and I think that we dedicated her (to God) before she was even born,” he explained.
He also showed me a contract he and Abbie signed when she was 16. In it, Abbie agreed to give up things like talking on the phone and time with her friends if she didn’t do what she was supposed to do. But Deloach said it was never too hard to get his oldest to do the right thing, “She was always very loyal and also concerned about others. And at a young age, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. She would cover her youngest sister in band aids,” he said with a smile.
He can smile more these days as he remembers the things that made he and his daughter close. Deloach tells us that the foundation will provide a gift of $30,000 every year for ten years to the church and that it will be providing gifts to other organizations including athletic ones and GSU, which was close to Abbie’s heart.
“She always brought so much life and energy (to every situation),” he says. “And just from a human standpoint, she could see everything that needed to be done.”