EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - If you knew Nathan Blackford, you would have known he liked trains.
Nathan was a producer at 14 News before he suddenly passed away in 2016. Now, his family is collecting toy trains in his memory and they plan on donating them to the Salvation Army’s Toy Town Campaign.
Nathan’s sister, Molley Mackey, said that train whistles have always reminded her of Nathan. She has been wanting to do something around the holidays in his honor for a long time.
“I thought trains just made sense. I heard two trains whistles that evening while I was laying in bed and I don’t remember the last time I heard a train whistle at this house,” says Mackey.
After posting her idea on Facebook, toy trains started arriving at her house.
“I was overwhelmed. I mean within a week of putting that first Facebook post out there, we had 10 or 15 trains. Then they just kept coming,” said Mackey.
Now she has over 50 train-related toys sitting under her tree in the living room. She plans on donating the trains to the Toy Town Campaign tomorrow, and hopes the toys her brother would have loved will make a child smile this Christmas.
"I think he would be proud of this, you know, helping kids and paying it forward, I think he would be very fine with that,' said Mackey.
After seeing such a good response from the community, with more donations than she expected, she hopes to continue this toy drive every year in the hopes that Nathan’s trains will keep his memory alive.
“I think that he would want to play with some of them and I really think he would be thrilled. I think he would be proud and I hope that we can make it bigger every year,” said Mackey.
On Friday morning, 14 News will be at the West Side Walmart in Evansville and the Owensboro Walmart taking your toy donations for the Toy Town Campaign.