Although Danny LOVED cars, he soon realized that being an auto mechanic was not a long term career option. At 6’7.5” he was bending over cars, bending under lifts and maneuvering every which way to get the job done. When he discovered his passion for EMS, he knew he wanted to make a change. He soon found a program with Medstar Ambulance and he joined the first Recruit Class they offered. He was enjoying the ride a longs on the “boo boo bus”, transferring patients, and getting hands on experience. At the time of Danny’s accident, he was only three weeks from becoming an EMT. His grandparents, Jim and Donna Bath, started a scholarship in his name right away to award one graduating EMT, per class with a gift of specialty boots, raptor sheers and a stethoscope. These are all items required for each EMT to purchase and is valued at $275. We give an average of 6 scholarships per year.
Danny loved anything with a motor. Even as a toddler he loved his cars, tractors or anything he could hook to a make shift trailer. Danny wanted to be a mechanic from a young age. He worked on lawn mowers, quads and family vehicles. In 2020, Danny graduated from Haslett High School with the additional 2 year certificate from the Wilson Talent Center Auto Repair Program. He earned his ASE certification June 2020. In most cases, Automotive Technicians/ Mechanics have to buy their own tools. These are expensive and it takes time to acquire the necessary tools for the job. Because of Danny’s continued love for cars, the Danny Bath Legacy Awards grants two graduating automotive students a $500 tool gift card.
Danny would’ve been 21 on October 12, 2022. That’s an important birthday. While wondering how to “celebrate” and remember Danny on his birthday, I looked at his van that had been sitting in our yard for over a year. I literally felt the words “donate it to a family for me”. I knew this was a message from Danny to give his van to a deserving family, from him on his birthday.
So I started making phone calls. I called the organizations with commercials on TV about donating vehicles. They all said that they would gladly pick up the van. However, they do not donate to families. The vehicles are either scraped or sent it to auction. Now I know they would do good things with the money, but I quickly felt Danny say “NO, it’s going to a family”. So I challenged Danny to help me find the family, and he did!
That same week, we had dinner with the pastor who officiated Danny’s funeral and his wife. After telling them the story about the road blocks I was having, they recommended the perfect family.
When I was telling a business friend about our plans, he said “lets fill the van”. I thought, sure, I’ll fill it with gas. He said “No, it’s a van going to a family with kids, lets fill it with non-parishables & stuff”. Busniess friends donated canned good, paper products, laundry detergent and more. They gave money, which inturn we purchased some toys and clothes for the kids. On Danny’s birthday celebration, friends and family brought “a gift for Danny” and helped “fill the van”.
Danny orchestrated all of it. This family is so amazing. They were down to one vehicle, two kids, walking to work and daycare…. Danny’s van was a game changer for them. Bob Hoffman from Fox 47 News heard about it and did a Good Neighbors segment on it. You can watch it here.
We now are planning on doing a similar project every year.