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A Division 1 recruit, getting ready to play in the state championship game. Daryl Hawkins is thankful for what he has, but it's what he is missing that has made his high school career so difficult.
"Going without a mother, without an actual parent being with you is pretty hard to take," said Hawkins.
Freshman year, Daryl is asked to step out of class to take a phone call. His brother is on the other end.
"'D, Pops is dead.' That's what he said to me," recalled Hawkins, "As he said that it didn't really process, I said 'what?' 'He's gone bro'."
Daryl's dad was shot dead in the parking lot of an Aurora apartment complex. The murder remains unsolved. The family was crushed, and Daryl's mom wanted out of Colorado.
"She wanted to go to California to be with her family and get that support that I really couldn't give her," Hawkins told 9News.
Daryl didn't want to lose the opportunity he had at Valor. But he needed a place to stay. His best friend Levi Waddell and his family opened their doors.
"I'm not just happy that a family stepped up, I'm happy their family stepped up. Because I love them," said Daryl with tears in his eyes.
"I kind of look up to him as a role model, it's shown me that certain things happen in life and you have to bounce back and recover and you have to look to the future and not lean on the past and that's something hard to do," Levi Waddell told 9News.
"It's been great, it's been a journey, but it's been great," said Levi's dad Clayton.
The Waddell's have legal guardianship of Daryl. He still maintains a great relationship with his mom, and misses his family.
However the Waddell's have become just that... family.
"Clearly we're not blood," said Hawkins, "But blood couldn't make us any closer."