LANSING, Mich. — This week’s Good Neighbor is turning a tragedy into a purpose by creating a legacy that is going to help a lot of families.
Haslett resident Dorrie Bath is a mom on a mission to make the world a better place.
Her inspiration is her son, Danny.
Bath says their lives were forever changed on Feb. 27, 2021.
“I talked to him at midnight, and we agreed he would be home by 2 a.m. So, I went to bed. I woke up at 1:35 a.m. startled, but I knew he wasn’t due home until 2 a.m.," Bath said. "So, I got up for a minute, and I looked out the window. And I just felt this hug. It felt like a heaviness, but it was also comfort.”
Bath says she shrugged off the uncomfortable feeling and tried to go back to sleep.
An hour later, the police were at her front door with the news no parent should ever hear.
Danny had died in a car crash. He was just 19 years old.
"When I asked them what time the accident was, they said around 1:30 a.m. I’ll never forget the police officer’s face when I said the accident happened at 1:35 a.m. I knew it," Bath said. "And that's when his car called 911, and there was a person behind them that also called 911 at 1:35 a.m. So, I know that Danny came home."
Bath says you never get over the death of a loved one.
But what's helping the Bath family heal is incorporating Danny's passion for passing it forward into their lives.
Before Danny bought his dream car, he drove this van, which the Bath family is now gifting to the Samora family of Troy, Michigan.
Bath says it wasn’t easy finding a family who needed a car.
“I was calling around to organizations, and they're like, 'Yes, we can pick it up and we'll set it up, take it to the auction,'" Bath said. "That would be good, but I heard this or felt this voice going, 'Ah, no!' That is Danny. He wanted the van to go to a family, and he made sure we found the right family."
Bath says she feels he is always with her, helping to guide her right to the Samora family.
Bath and her family recently met with the Samora family to give them Danny’s van.
Not only did the Baths donate Danny’s car, but Danny’s friends and the community made it extra special by filling it with supplies for the Samora family.
The family’s children were especially pleased. Dominic Russell says he was surprised at all the gifts.
“I got a lot of new stuff I needed. I got socks, I got a new basketball, I got a new journal and I got new clothes and new shoes,” Russell said.
Danny’s brother Darren says it was great to see the kids’ eyes light up.
"It was just super exciting to see both the kids, just their eyes lit up because they didn't know that there was going to be anything in the van. They just thought there were some people coming over and they're giving us a van," Darren said. "When they opened the van, and they saw toys and some new clothes and just a bunch of goodies and nonperishable items and toilet paper, as I've heard, was a major hit!"
Rebecca Samora says having the van is a huge weight off her shoulders.
"It's just like a huge weight, and when they brought the van, it was filled with stuff. It was emotional for me because there was laundry detergent and groceries," she said. "So, it was just like a load off. Because that stuff is expensive right now. I cried when they left."
The Bath family also created a nonprofit called the Danny Bath Legacy to continue his legacy of helping others.
They plan to give a car away each year, and they also started a scholarship in Danny’s name. Danny’s dad, Dave, says it’s what Danny would want.
“On one hand, it’s extremely sad and emotional, but on the other hand, this is what we taught our kids to do, and they just keep on doing it and go further with it,” he said.
Santana Samora says he is very thankful.
"Obviously, 19 is too young to go. But as his mom said, I think Danny orchestrated this. Yeah, I think he put this together. And from the stories we hear, that's just the type of guy he was in the world," he said. "He was giving, he was caring, and we hope that we can just pass that on to someone eventually to pass it off."
We want to say thank you to the Bath family for turning a tragedy into a purpose to help others.
You are this week’s Good Neighbors.
If you would like to learn more about the Danny Bath Legacy fund, visit the Facebook Page What Would Danny Do?
Want to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News Website.
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