SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County Fire District 8 partnered with Starbucks to collect stuffed animals for children in memory of Andrew Vathis.
Spokane’s South Hill notable Andrew Vathis died after he was hit by a car in front of the Albertson’s on 57th Ave.
About a month after his death, people in the community are still remembering his kind deeds and heart toward others.
For about four hours, Spokane County firefighters stood outside of the Starbucks across the street from where Vathis was hit and collected brand new stuffed animals. The firefighters said they will pass out the toys to children involved in emergency response calls.
The Starbucks’ store manager Emily Mercer stood with the firefighters as people dropped off the donations.
“Andrew was in my store almost every day,” she said. “We just want to continue the kindness that Andrew showed to everyone in the community here by taking these animals in and distributing them with the fire department.”
Captain Todd Wood with the fire department said Andrew used to collect stuffed animals and donate them to the department for children who may have needed them.
“It was something that he always wanted to do, was give stuffed animals to the fire department so that kids that were in some type of tragic situation had a toy to comfort them. This is something we just want to keep going,” he said.
People would drive up to the firefighters’ tent and hand them a toy or multiple bags and boxes filled with the stuffed animals.
“We’ve had…little kids coming in with bags that are bigger than them. It’s been really sweet to see,” Mercer said.
People who knew Andrew came with their arms full.
Mandy Davis said it was important for her to bring toys, because first responders have come to her house before to tend to her daughter.
“The police had come to our house, and they brought her a stuffy. They said it was donated, so it’s important to donate and give back so everybody can get something special when first responders come to their home,” she said.
Throughout the entire afternoon, Wood said they collected more than 100 stuffed toys.
“Andrew was one of those people (who) was a great example to everybody,” he said. “He was kind and always thinking of other people, and we just thought that this was something that we would like to keep alive…that spirit.”