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DENVER — A big surprise today for the wife of fallen Colorado State Trooper Cody Donahue.

Last month, Trooper Donahue was struck and killed by a semi-truck while investigating an accident on I-25.

He left behind a wife and two young girls.

Thursday, in a surprise, they found out they won’t have to move from the home where they shared their happiest memories.

“He was one of a kind. He was my heart and its hard to live without a heart right now,” Velma Donahue said of her hero husband, an 11-year veteran with the CSP.

His death left Velma filling the role of both mom and dad.

“I never did the bill paying, Cody did it, and when I’m getting into it I’m not sure what I’m doing,” she said while in the offices of the Altitude Planning Group.

To help ease her burden, her extended family nominated Velma to receive a years’ worth of mortgage payments from Altitude Planning and local non-profit Gradient Gives Back Foundation.

Thursday, Velma thought she was going in for her final interview.

Instead Velma was surprised to find out she had won.

“As a father of two, my heart goes out to you guys,” said Jonathan Sanders with Altitude Planning Group. “We are honored on behalf of Altitude Planning Group and Gradient Gives Back to give you 12 months of mortgage payments,” Sanders told Velma.

Mortgage payments, she says, equal a house, which equals a home.

“It means a lot to us. My kids, they asked if we could stay in our house because they are attached to the house, ’cause daddy did a lot of work in it, and I said ‘We will be okay,’ so they will be happy to know this too,” Velma said.

To her girls, it’s another year in the home their dad built, another year with the memories he left behind.

“It makes it easier to go through the grief process when you don’t have to worry about all these other things that happen and that you have to take care of when you’re a mom and a dad,” Velma said.

The mortgage payments will be paid by the Altitude Planning Group and the Gradient Gives Back Foundation.

Velma was one of hundreds of applicants nominated for the gift.