When little girl loses Marine father, military family comes to her aid

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Marine's daughter is left with a lot of unanswered questions and an uncertain future.

Emma would lose the man who protected her family and her country, but would find her Marine family.

Emma's mom, Kali Specht, knows they have long track ahead even if her 5-year-old daughter doesn't quite yet understand.

"She misses playing with him. She misses seeing him," Kali said, tearing up.

Emma's dad, Lance Cpl. Caleb Specht, died after a motorcycle wreck in July. The Marine was only 32 years old.

"In [Gage] Park, they went to the pool, they went to the carousel, we rode the train," Kali said.

Now Emma will have to ride that train without her father -- but not alone. She has an entire military family ready to fight for her success.

Emma yells, "All aboard" while playing on the train.

Caleb's commander, Lt. Nick De Gregorio, got off a plane in Kansas City two days after his Marine comrade's death, wanting to help Kali sort out Emma's bright future.

Kali said, "Within 10 minutes of sitting down at dinner he asked me, 'What can we do?' Not just now, but for the future."

That's when Lt. De Gregorio decided to create a GoFundMe Campaign to raise money for Emma's education, a fund Emma's dad never got the chance to fulfill.

"One of the the biggest dreams for both of us was for her to be able to go to college," Kali said, "and have the opportunity to chase her dreams."

While Kali pushes Emma on the swing her daughter said, "this shirt says just do it!"

Kali replied, "that's right. You can do anything you set your mind to."

Emma told her mom, "you know you're thinking it!"

"That's my girl," Kali said. "This is a prime example of, you know, [Caleb's] Marine brothers rallying for his daughter and the feeling of that is truly incredible."

In the military, they don't leave their own behind wherever life may take them.

Emma runs off the train headed back toward the swings as Kali watches, "Off she goes."

If you would like to be a part of Emma's journey donate here here.

Kali said all the money raised will go into a savings account for Emma's education.

Read the original version of this article at wibw.com.