IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIDK/KXPI) - A young girl's life was cut short by a tragic accident years ago. But out of that came the birth of a nonprofit that now saves the lives of others. KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz wanted to see what they do and Pay It Forward.
Cady Tucker was like any fun-loving little girl. She loved to run, dress up, and was really good at art. But August 15, 2002, when Cady was just 11-years old, she was hit by an impaired driver in Montana and died. Her mother Pat said the emotions were devastating and the only way to survive is to use the collected energy in a good, positive way.
"To acknowledge that your child deserves to have a place in this physical world. Maybe I couldn't save Cady's life, but I could certainly use Cady's life to help save other lives," said Pat Tucker.
Out of the tragedy, Pat and her husband started the nonprofit called People Against Impaired Driving or P.A.I.D. in 2006.
The first thing that comes to mind is drunk driving, but that's not all. Pat said it can be any impairment behind the wheel… a cell phone, eating, putting on makeup, any distraction, or even a medical impairment.
In 2012, on the 10th anniversary of Cady's death, the new nonprofit started "Cady Tucker Run in the Spirit" or Cady's Run, because she loved running.
In 2014, the group started using the proceeds from the yearly run to buy AED's and donate them to area schools. An AED's is an automated external defibrillator, to shock the heart back into rhythm.
"We have AED's in airports. We have them in municipal buildings, but we haven't put them in schools and so this is something that we can do with the proceeds from the Cady Tucker Run in the Spirit," said Pat.
As of the first of 2020, the group has donated 17 AED's to 16 local schools. Along with the donation, they provide CPR training and show students and teachers how to use the AED. In fact, Pat said one of the AED's saved a teacher's life at Idaho Falls High School in 2017.
Westside Elementary School and Fox Hollow Elementary in Idaho Falls along with Hillview Elementary in Ammon all received their AED donation in December 2019. Dr. Elisa Saffle, the principal at Hillview, was very grateful for theirs.
"Being able to, first of all, have a donation from a community member is awesome for us. We have the gym in this building and so having something like this around the gym area is important. It's really important to have," said Saffle.
Time to Pay It Forward.
"And we're on our ninth year now," said Pat.
"Hi Pat. How are you?" said a man walking in the front door of the home.
"Hi, I'm fine. How are you?" asked Pat, with a confused look.
"Good. Hey my name is Kory (Carling) and I'm with Mountain America Credit Union. We heard about all that you've been doing to raise awareness for your daughter, from community runs to creating awareness for safe driving and also for putting defibrillators in our schools and so because of that, I've brought with me today $500 in cash that we want to give you and Pay It Forward for all that you're doing in memory of Cady," said Carling.
"Ah, thank you so much. I'm totally taken back. Thank you!" said Pat, surprised and almost out of breath.
"You are welcome," said Carling.
"Thank you," said Pat.
"Our pleasure. Thank you for all that you do," said Carling.
"Thank you so very much. I am speechless. I'm amazed. Thank you," said Pat.
The AED's are not cheap. Pat said they are $1,600 each. Valentine's Day the group will be at Westside Elementary at 2:30 p.m. doing CPR and AED training for students and teachers, and a lot of parents will be attending.
The next Cady's Run in the Spirit will be July 18, 2020 at Freeman Park.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.