The Washington Times-Herald

February 20, 2013

Family encourages public to 'Pay it Forward' next month

By Nate Smith

WASHINGTON — March 9 will be the first anniversary of the tragic death of Washington teens Derek Arvin and Zach Blubaum.

But instead of making the day a somber one, family members are asking the community to be positive. Arvin’s family is organizing a “Pay it Forward” day on March 9, where friends and famliy members can do good.

And, the family would like the public to get involved and do good for others.

Lori Koerner, Arvin’s mother, said the idea came after “the Lord laid it on my heart.”

“I had a lot of people wanting to do memorials,” Koerner said. “I don’t want to have another funeral.”

So, 10 days ago, Koerner posted on Facebook the idea of the paying it forward. It caught on fast.

Koerner said many, including who would be Arvin’s classmates, are getting behind the idea.

“It gets more exciting by the minute,” Koerner said.

Paying it forward is a concept of doing a good deed not just for someone you know, or maybe owe one for, but for someone you do not know.

Performing a random act of kindness for someone and doing something nice for someone else would be a good example.

Koerner said many have committed to the day, including  buying a meal for someone in need, going to nursing homes to brighten up an eldery person’s day, doing house work for someone who can’t do the work themselves. The ideas are endless.

The family is working on a list of people or organizations, like the PowerHouse, that will need help. To find out more, contact Koerner at 486-7428 or on Facebook. But the act does not have to be elaborate, it can be simple to honor the day and what it means.

“(Derek’s) personality was he wanted people to be happy,” Koerner said. “He always wanted people to smile, that’s where this whole idea came from.”

Blubaum and Arvin have been honored both in the community and at Washington High School, but in this way, they can keep doing good for others, Koerner said.

“We’ve had a lot of their friends who have been with us a lot,” Koerner said. “Even 10 years from now when it is March 9, I want them to think of something good to do.

“I just want to keep it going.”