Salado fundraiser

A photo of Amanda Hoffman greeted guests during a fundraiser Saturday in Salado. Hoffman, a Salado High School and Texas A&M University graduate, died Thursday from injuries she sustained in a car accident. See more photos online at

SALADO — Friends and family gathered Saturday at Johnny’s Steaks & Barbecue to celebrate the life of Salado High School graduate Amanda Hoffman, 23, who died June 6 from injuries she sustained in a car accident.

The celebration, which included live music, food and drinks, was also a fundraiser to help Hoffman’s family with medical bills. About $15,000 was raised at the benefit.

Hoffman, a recent Texas A&M graduate bound for law school, was best known for her vibrant, energetic and contagious personality.

“She was a gem … always smiling, always,” said Josh Bratton, co-owner of Johnny’s, where Hoffman was once employed. “So I know Amanda is smiling around and happy to see the massive amount of support here. This is a beautiful thing to see.”

Hoffman was headed to compete at a water skiing tournament in North Carolina when she and two teammates were involved in a car crash east of Jackson, Miss.

Asleep in the backseat without a seatbelt, Hoffman was thrown from the car. She suffered a severe brain injury and was in a coma for three weeks before she died, according to event organizers.

Jessica Emerson, a high school classmate of Hoffman’s, was one of more than 90 people who attended the celebration at Johnny’s.

“I think that it’s great the community came together this way,” she said. “Everyone opened up their heart and some even gave their last to the Hoffman family. That shows a lot. It’s emotional but a happy thing all at once.”

Emily Dunn, 22, recalled how Hoffman would do anything for anyone.

“I knew Amanda for over 20 years and there was not one thing that she wouldn’t do for anybody,” she said. “She was sweet to everybody that she met and one thing that everybody remembers is how lively she was.”

Monique Brand - Herald correspondent

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