When 13-year-old Kenilworth Junior High student Mickers Buzard first heard that Trevor Smith, also 13, had died tragically on his way to a boating excursion last week, he knew he wanted to help.
As a longtime friend of Smith's, he fondly remembers playing the guitar for his lead-singer friend in their band, eating dinners and hanging out together, and spending countless hours being entertained by Smith's captivating personality.
"Trevor was always happy, smiling, telling jokes and trying to make other people happy," he said as he stared at the floor, smiling at the memory of his friend.
Trevor died Friday morning on his way to a boating birthday party at Lake Mendocino when his host's truck ran out of gas on Highway 101 and he helped push the vehicle down the offramp. Highway Patrol authorities said that Trevor fell between the pickup and the boat trailer as the vehicle gained momentum downhill.
Mickers, along with his mother Patty Buzard, and MaryEllen Whitton, a close friend of Trevor's mother Pam Smith, decided to hold a bake sale last Sunday and give all the money raised to the Smith family. They never could have imagined the response from local residents.
"People were driving up and holding money out the window with tears streaming down their faces," said Whitton, whose son, Alex Stanton, went to school with Trevor. "By the end of the sale, we had more food than when we started because people weren't there to buy the food. They just wanted to be involved."
Described by many as a funny, outgoing and bright teenager, Trevor's life seemed to impact everyone he met. Teachers, friends, neighbors and children all have stories about Trevor's ability to make everyone feel loved.
"He's the kid who everyone loved," said Patty Buzard. "He made everyone feel like they were the most important person in the world and he touched a lot of lives."
Patty grinned through tears as she recalled Trevor's last visit to her home, which happened just 10 days before his death. "He rode his bike over to visit, and he walked through the door, plopped down on the couch and started whispering in Mickers' ear and cracking up. He was so full of joy."
Many people came to the Father's Day bake sale and lemonade stand organized by the Buzards and Whitton. The tiny neighborhood fundraiser held in the Petaluma Christian Church parking lot managed to raise more than $2,000 in the short six-hour span it operated.
Mickers, who couldn't attend the bake sale because he was sick, stayed home on the couch in his pajamas, updating the Facebook page he created for the event, encouraging residents to donate and responding to anyone who left a message or a comment.
"The power that kids can have is amazing," said Patty. "Not just Mickers, but there were kids helping out at the bake sale, St. Vincent cheerleaders holding signs, young children offering their allowances — it was amazing to see the support from young people."
Whitton, who visited Trevor's mom on Saturday, agreed. She added that raising this money ensured that the Smiths would have the time they needed to grieve their horrific loss.
"Pam, who owns a hair salon in Novato, was worried about getting back to her clients and making sure their hair looked great on Saturday. That's how sweet she is," said Whitton. "But this way, anything the family wants to use the money for — be it burial costs, time off of work, bills, whatever — it's there."