Updated: 02/15/2014 11:05 PM
Created: 02/15/2014 9:25 PM KAALtv.com
By: Sean Boswell
(ABC 6 News) -- There were many fathers ice fishing with their sons in Lanesboro Saturday, but three fathers there were forced to cast out alone.
"They were true friends," said Steve Erickson.
In January, four were killed when an SUV crashed into the icy Mississippi River in Winona. Three have been best friends since they were little kids.
"They went through school together and hung around together all their lives," said Erickson, Matthew’s father.
The lives still had many years to live. Andrew Kingsbury, Matthew Erickson and Blake Overland were all 30 or under when they died.
"I don't know how it could get any harder," said Erik Overland, father of Blake.
"It’s something that you don't get over quick... It's something that'll last years," said Erickson.
Today's ice fishing event, now in memorial to them, serves as a sort of comfort during such a difficult time.
"It’s really special to me because it brings good memories of the kids," said Overland.
Parts of the proceeds are going to the Winona County Dive Rescue Team, who used up all their funds searching for the bodies.
"The dive team, and all the volunteers, and the sheriff’s department, they're fantastic people and to work with them was just great, just to be there for them and for us, it helped a lot," said Al Kingsbury, father of Andrew.
As many fathers are able to share a moment ice fishing with their sons, other fathers could only recall those shared with theirs.