SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This Holiday season has been tough on many in our community but for one Savannah couple who just lost their youngest son it may be the toughest on yet.
That was until gifts started to arrive.
Not for their son, but because of who he was, and what he cared about.
Giving back was a passion for Daniel Zeigler
“Daniel loved being involved with helping people,” said his father Jay Zeigler.
Perhaps his favorite way to give, was through Toys for Tots.
“That was a cause he really got behind, supported and believed it,” said Jay.
Doing much of his work alongside Michael Shortt and the Oglethorpe Driving Club.
“Every year we would collect toys and he couldn’t wait to help out and take toys from people,” said Shortt.
He certainly collected his fair share.
“Together we’ve done about 50-thousand toys in the parking lot during our Cars & Coffee event every December,” Shortt says.
But in all the toys, over all the years, a recent donation may be the most special.
Because these toys are in his memory.
Daniel died last week at just 33 years old.
“Daniel was my partner and our youngest son,” Jay said.
But in their loss, something truly unexpected happened
“One of his pharmacy school classmates called us and said we’d like to donate toys in his honor,” said Shortt.
And they weren’t alone.
“They’ve been arriving now be literally van loads. Yesterday we had 91 boxes alone,” Shortt added.
In just four days 150 toys had arrived.
For the Zeiglers it was hard to comprehend.
“When we got the call that so many people had responded and sent toys we were just overwhelmed.”
A tribute to a man who gave so much in so little time.
“I can’t think of a better way to remember him,” said his father.
So, as each gift is unwrapped by a child in need this holiday season what they’ll find inside is much more than just a toy, it’s a piece of Daniel.
Because, as it seems, even though he’s gone he’s still found a way to do what he loved most, help others
“It just helps share the love that Daniel had for everyone. It’s just a manifestation of Daniel himself,” said Jay.
The Zeiglers say gifts are still rolling in from all over the world and they encourage everyone to make a donation in Daniel’s honor this year.
A tradition they hope to keep going for years to come.