Friends, family and some people who barely knew Robert P. Armstrong, Jr. turned out July 9 to support the family of the Brandon High graduate who died last month at work on Interstate-75.
“It’s been unreal in here,” Dennis Edmonds, manager of the Beef O’ Brady’s in Seffner, where the event ran from 11 a.m. to midnight. “We have been packed since 11 a.m. this morning. This community is unreal with the way they are supporting this boy’s family.”
Edmonds' son, Eric, owns the restaurant. Both father and son, and organizers of the fundraiser, aim to raise close to $4,000.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is at 812 West Martin Luther King Blvd. There, the fundraiser included a raffle, silent auction and karaoke. Edmonds also is donating a portion of bill proceeds.
“I knew people would show up, but to see so many people here it brought tears to my eyes,” said Lee Miller, a close friend of Armstrong’s, who helped organize the event.
“It says something about Robert that so many people turned out,” Miller added. "He was a quiet guy but while he was here he took real good care of his family. He would do anything for anyone.”
A 2010 graduate of Brandon High School, Armstrong, with his fiancee, had a 4-month-old daughter, Savannah.
Armstrong He reportedly was picking up road signs for Pepper Construction along the shoulder of the highway when he was hit and killed by a pickup truck at 4:30 a.m. The pickup, driven by Logan Tanner Feagle of Land O' Lakes, struck a message board trailer before hitting Armstrong who died on the scene. Charges had been pending.
"Feagle failed to maintain control of his vehicle and drove onto the shoulder of the roadway causing the front of his vehicle to collide with the message board trailer and truck," according to a Florida Highway Patrol release on the crash.
North Brandon Little League posted a message of support for Armstrong on the group’s website and asked members to turn up at Beef’s to show their support.
Armstrong played baseball in the league as a youngster.
“I’ve even had people just walk in and hand over $100 or $500,” Dennis Edmonds said late afternoon July 9. "It’s been amazing and we are still not done.”