Once in the Catonsville area, the couple decided to continue that connection.

"I walked in on a committee meeting and said I wanted to help," David Herman said. "I think I dove into this event.

"I just think focusing your energy into the event, not your sadness, (is important)," he said.

Since then, the couple has put Erika's many connections as a teacher at Hillcrest Elementary to work securing a variety of event sponsors and donations.

"It's just from who we know," Erika Herman said. "The connections definitely helped."

So far the couple has received gift card donations from C'ville Bike and the Hub, Peace of Pizza, and Edible Arrangements in addition to 500 bottles of energy drinks from Body Armor, 100 T-shirts from EmbroidMe, a variety of "swag" from Corona and more.

"A lot of people were giving gift cards and baskets and things like that," she said.

She said they got so many donations from so many different organizations, they will host a silent auction at their tent Saturday night.

"That way, when everybody takes a lap, they can check on their bid," Erika Herman said.

The couple agreed that participating in Relay was a way for their family to cope with the previous year's losses.

They will purchase and light luminaries for David's mother and grandfather as part of the luminary service that takes place at every Relay event nationwide.

Tea light candles are placed in white bags with the patient, survivor or departed's name on it. At around 9 p.m., the bags are placed around the track to spell out "HOPE" in the bleachers before they are all lit.

"It's a sobering moment when they light the luminaries," David Herman said.

"It's a good way to honor somebody," Erika Herman said.