LANSING, Mich. — This is the story of how a Michigan family turned tragedy into purpose, creating a legacy that will help many families.

Haslett resident Dori Butt is a mom who wants to make the world a better place.

Her inspiration is Danny’s son.

Bath says their lives changed forever on February 27, 2021.

“I spoke to him at midnight and we agreed that he would be home by 2am. So I went to bed. I woke up at 1:35 a.m. with a fright, but I knew he wouldn’t be home until 2 a.m., Bath said. – I got up for a minute and looked out the window. And I just felt that hug. It felt like a burden, but it was also a comfort.”

Bath says she got rid of the unpleasant feeling and tried to go back to sleep.

An hour later, the police were at her front door with news that no parent should have heard.

Danny died in a car accident. He was only 19 years old.

“When I asked them what time the accident happened, they said it was around 1:30 in the morning, I’ll never forget the look on the policeman’s face when I said the accident happened at 1:35 in the morning, I knew it,” Butt said . “And then his car called 911 and there was a person behind them who also called 911 at 1:35 in the morning. So I know Danny is back home.’

Bath says you will never get over the death of a loved one.

But what helps the Bath family heal is Danny’s desire to bring it into his own life.

Before Danny bought his dream car, he drove this van, which the Butt family is now donating to the Samora family of Troy, Michigan.

Bath says it wasn’t easy to find a family that needed a car.

“I called the organization and they said, ‘Yeah, we can pick it up, we’ll set it up, we’ll take it to auction,'” Butt said. “That would be nice, but I heard it or felt that voice, ‘Ah, no!’ This is Danny. He wanted the van to go to the family and he made sure we found the right family.’

Bat says she feels like he’s always with her, helping guide her to the Samor family.

Bath and her family recently met with the Zamora family to hand over Danny’s van to them.

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 Zamora family.

The children of the family were especially happy. Dominic Russell says he was surprised by all the gifts.

“I got a lot of new things that I need. I got socks, I got a new basketball, I got a new journal, I got new clothes and new shoes,” Russell said.

Danny’s brother Darren says it was great to see the children’s eyes light up.

“It was really interesting to see both kids, just their eyes lit up because they didn’t know there was going to be anything in the van. They just thought we had some people coming over and they were giving us a van,” Darren said. “When they opened the van and saw toys and new clothes and loads of non-perishable goodies and toilet paper I heard a big hit!”

Rebecca Zamora says having a van is a huge weight off her shoulders.

“It’s just a huge weight and when they brought the van it was full of stuff. It was emotional for me because there was washing powder and groceries,” she said. “So it was just like a burden. Because these things are expensive now. I cried when they left.”

The Bath family also created a non-profit organization called The Danny Bath Legacy to continue his legacy of helping others.

They plan to give away the car every year and have also established a scholarship in Danny’s name. Danny’s father, Dave, says Danny would have liked it.

“On the one hand, it’s very sad and emotional, but on the other hand, it’s what we’ve taught our kids and they just keep doing it and move on,” he said.

Santana Zamora says he is very grateful.

“Obviously 19 is too young to go. But like his mom said, I think Danny set it up. Yeah, I think he’s got it all together. And from the stories that we’re hearing, he was just that kind of guy in the world,” he said. “He was giving, he was caring, and we’re hoping that we can just pass that on to somebody to pass that on.”

We want to say thank you to the Bath family for turning a tragedy into a goal to help others.

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