Published Tuesday, 17 December 2013
Kevin Bell, from Newry, died in June in a hit-and-run accident in New York.
The 26-year-old dancing champion and talented Gaelic player was one of seven children, including a twin brother.
"Kevin had been out, it was a Saturday night and he returned home at about half three in the morning, he got out of a taxi and a white van came speeding and struck him, drove on and then he was hit by a second car but apparently he had been killed instantly," his father Colin explained.
"We were fortunate or God was good in that we didn't get a cold call from America. Kevin had been out to a friends', Sheamie Toner, and Sheamie rang his parents and then Vincent and Caroline came up and broke the news to us."
Eithne added: "They came to the door, and I just said 'What's happened to my Kevin?' - I said 'is it bad' and he said 'Eithne, it's the very worst'.
"It was like a sledgehammer."
Kevin had been living in the American city for almost a year before the tragic incident.
Describing him, Kevin's mum told UTV: "If you met Kevin once, you remembered him, he just really had that personality, people loved him, he was full of craic.
"He would put himself up for a joke as well as putting everybody else up for one."
Colin said he had many friends at home in Newry and had a busy social life in New York as well.
In dealing with the loss of Kevin, his family and the community have come together to create a lasting legacy in his memory.
The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust now helps other families bring their loved ones' bodies home - already they have raised £120,000.
It can cost families £5,000 to bring someone's body home from another country.
"Any time that I've heard that somebody else has been plunged into the same situation that we're in, I just think 'oh God, you are just starting on your journey'," Eithne said.
"We're six months down the line, please God we'll learn how to cope with it, and it's a comfort to think that we can help."
Colin said they have offered help to as many as 10 local families who have lost a relative overseas.
He added: "We said at the time, Kevin wasn't going to be the last, so the fund is there to help. We just want to help people."
© UTV News