Community rallies for family of Manitoba man who died in head-on collision last week

A group of friends came together to help raise nearly $125,000 in less than a week for the family of a man who recently died in a head-on collision in northwestern Manitoba.

Eric Fardoe, 33, was driving a pickup truck on Highway 39, near Snow Lake, Man., when the vehicle collided with a semi-trailer shortly before 6:30 a.m. on May 19.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Manitoba RCMP.

Fardoe leaves behind his wife and two young sons — a five-year-old and two-year-old — at home in Brandon, Man. Despite knowing he wouldn’t have accepted a handout, some close friends wanted to do something that would ensure Fardoe’s family is looked after.

“He was a roll-up-his-sleeves-and-do-it-himself kind of guy. But at the same time, he was a family man and would do anything to make sure his family was taken care of,” said friend Tyler Plante.

“I said, ‘We don’t know their situation. Let’s try and help their family the way he would do anything to make sure that we were looked after.'”

Plante and a handful of other close friends of the family organized a GoFundMe page. It launched May 20 and has raised over $124,000 as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“You can only send over so many casseroles until the freezer is full,” said Plante.

“You can’t get together. You can’t give hugs. So we thought this would be a way not only for the family to benefit them, but benefit the kids down the road.” 

The money won’t bring back the well-loved community and family man, but the amount of support at least shows how respected he and the family are and that people care for them, he said.

Brady Breemersch, another friend, visited Fardoe’s family with his fiance to check in on them.

“[Stacy] is doing well for the circumstances,” he said. “It’s really tough. But she’s a pretty strong woman and she’s dealing with it as good as she can.”

A GoFundMe campaign launched for Fardoe’s family has has raised over $124,000 since May 20. (Submitted by Tyler Plante)

‘Every story has been consistent’

Eric Fardoe was a farm boy, a plumber by trade, a quality cook and a motorcross enthusiast. He was genuine, selfless and a good friend to many.

Motorcross is how Breemersch and Fardoe met back in 2008. They were both racers, but Fardoe also chipped in with a local race near Brandon where he could, and over time their friendship blossomed, he said.

Breemersch’s favourite memory with Fardoe was a road trip the two took south of the border a few years back. They went to Las Vegas, Nev., then drove to California to watch a supercross — indoor motorcross — race, then drove to Phoenix, Ariz., where Fardoe’s parents had a vacation home.

“We did a bunch of hiking and stuff like that,” said Breemersch.

“It was a bit of a road trip and a lot of fun.”

Plante, who played professional hockey before settling in Brandon, had almost nothing in common with Fardoe, but they became the best of friends because, despite their differences, they got along, he said.

The thing he will never forget about Fardoe, however, is ‘The Rooster’ — an infamous dance that he would break out at socials and weddings where he’d emulate a rooster and “somehow managed to do it to a beat.”

“He did it at my social, he did at my wedding. He did it at other people’s socials and weddings,” said Plante. 

“He was just that guy who could absolutely light up a room and just make everyone laugh.”

Over the past number of days, Plante has spoken with others about his late friend, hearing different stories. But they all have similar themes.

“Every story has been consistent,” he said.

“It makes you feel lucky to be a part of his life.”