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WATERVILLE, OH (Toledo News Now) -
It was a big night at Waterville Primary School.
The annual Father/Daughter Winter Ball was held on Saturday.
One girl, 10-year-old Marlee Eckert, received a special red carpet welcome upon her arrival at the dance.
But she didn't come with her dad.
Andy Eckert was killed in action in 2005 while serving in Iraq.
Instead, Marlee's grandfather, Dave Miramontes, came in from Washington D.C. to be her date.
"It's kind of a troubling time not having your dad around so I stepped into that role on occasion when I lived here. Now that I'm in D.C., I made sure I made it back for her and her friends," said Dave.
But that's not the end of the story.
Police, fire, EMS and military personnel lined the red carpet welcoming Marlee and her classmates to the dance.
It was a way to keep Andy's memory alive for Marlee.
"My dad wasn't able to be here but I know there's a lot of people standing behind me," said Marlee.
Family friend and Toledo firefighter Holly Bennett put out the call to honor Andy.
"And I think it's important that we're here and we support her so she has a date for her dance this evening," said Holly.
And what does Marlee say is the best part is of going to this dance?
"Hanging out with my friends. I'll hang out with grandpa too."