From grieving to giving: local man steps up to help others

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- A tiny table in a corner, a large scarf covering a window, and a sheet of fabric on the bedroom floor are all that can be found in the bare apartment of a woman who escaped her abusive husband.

She sought refuge with a friend, but was abused in that home, too.

"She has been eating and sleeping on the floor," said her shelter case manager Lisa Dempewolf.

The woman spent the last nine months at The Sophie Way shelter in Bellevue.

"She was terrified. She was really afraid to live alone," said Dempewolf, who had to convince her to leave the shelter and rent an apartment.

While she wasn't home, Dempewolf let a stranger into the woman's apartment on Monday. But this stranger was on a mission to keep his son's legacy of giving alive.

Kevin McDonald owns McDonald's furniture in Lynnwood. His family understands loss. He lost his 13-year old son Blazen two years ago. McDonald says Blazen was all about giving.

"One time he gave this guy who came off the park and ride 30 dollars out of his pocket," Blazen's big brother Neketa said.

On Tuesday, McDonald, his son and their crew unloaded a truck full of new furniture at the domestic violence victim's apartment. They donated a new bed, mattress, dining set, sofa, chair, art, and end tables.

The shelter staff said the McDonald's generosity means more than a place to eat and sleep, it provides her with dignified surroundings and self worth.

"That way she can carry herself forth in starting her new life with dignity," said Leslie Miller, Sophia Way's client services director.

McDonald left the apartment without ever meeting the woman who lived there. He said that's okay because it's about the giving.

"I would give everything I possibly could just to hold my son one more time and tell him how much I loved him and how much I care for him. Maybe in some small way I can do something to keep his memory alive," he said.