CBS 6 Community

Actions

How community is rallying around Midlothian family after unimaginable loss

Posted at 12:40 AM, Apr 08, 2023

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The community is rallying behind a Chesterfield County family experiencing yet another tragedy after losing their home in a house fire just two years ago.

It was more than 15 years ago lovebirds Amanda and Robert Cantrell became a pair.

"He used to always tell me that he had seen me when I would go visit my brother and I didn't notice him," Amanda recalled. "I remember the first time that I did notice him and we just started hanging out."

It was exactly seven years ago the couple welcomed their first child into the world.

"We have three boys," said Amanda. "They're wonderful, Caleb is just like his dad, down to mannerisms, the way he speaks, acts."

While taking care of their two boys and Amanda pregnant with their third, the family experienced a tragic house fire, resulting in a total loss of their belongings.

"The boys were at the table eating dinner and I looked out the back door and the whole right side of the house was on fire, so we just, I got the boys and ran to the front yard," she said.

Forced to start completely over, the family temporarily moved into a three-bedroom townhome with Amanda's father.

"There was a lot of PTSD for me and my children," she described. "They still get emotional about things that they lost in the fire; it’s something that will stick with them for a long time, I think."

Not long after moving into a bigger home with Amanda's mother, tragedy struck the Cantrell family again.

"He would wake up very early in the morning to start his days driving," Amanda said. "I didn’t hear from him and I got really nervous."

Robert or Bobby, as his family and friends called him, was a truck driver. Amanda said after she didn't hear from him one morning in late March while he was on a job in North Carolina, she had the local police do a wellness check. They found Bobby not breathing in his truck.

"My worst nightmare, I mean we’ve been together for 15 years," Amanda said.

She said delivering this devastating message to her kids that their dad had passed away was the hardest.

"He love them a lot.... just the thought of him not ever coming back I think was really, obviously difficult for them," Amanda said.

With such devastating news hitting their family, Amanda said groups like Truckers Final Mile and Midlothian Moms helped her push through the hardest moment of her life.

Knowing how much Amanda gives back to those around her, friend and member of the group Midlothian Moms Felicia Brantner reached out to CBS 6 hoping for the community's help.

"I had surgery, so she reached out to me and she said, 'Can I help you somehow?'" Brantner said, describing how kind and caring Amanda is. "Now she’s in the hard part: the recovery processes, the regrowth, the portion of it where the most work has to be put in — and she’s doing it alone."

Brantner said Amanda loves her kids more than anything and knows she would never ask anyone for help, so she wants to do all she can for a family that does so much for other people.

"She has three beautiful boys that have lost their father," Brantner said. "I think that’s the main concern for her and her family is that [her boys] are still able to do things and experience as many wonderful things as they would have if dad was still around."

"Everything he did was really for our little family," said Amanda. "And he did the best he could to take care of us."

You can help Amanda and her three boys through this GoFundMe link. 

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

SHARE on social media to SPREAD the WORD!