Nicky Hayden honored during Daniel Pitino Shelter event

Nicky Hayden honored during Daniel Pitino Shelter event

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - An icon and his family were honored Thursday at a western Kentucky non-profit fundraiser.

Nicky Hayden, who was an Owensboro native, died in May of 2017 after he was hit by a car during his training in Italy.

Several dozen people showed up for the event benefiting the Daniel Pitino Shelter. Board members for the shelter say financial help is more important now than ever before.

Over 25 years, those with the Daniel Pitino Shelter say they’ve served millions of meals. Right now, they are serving between 250-300 a day.

But with cuts from various funding sources, leaders must think about how to bridge the gap. So, they turned to the community and asked for 2,500 people to give $25 monthly.

This comes after what they describe as a total cut from the federal level, plus Rick Pitino’s foundation dissolving.

“This is a community shelter and it is our only family shelter in this community,” Kathy Wright explained. “Without the support of this community, we’re not going to be able to keep our doors open.”

Throughout the years, board members say the Hayden family has been incredibly generous and the non-profit planned to honor Nicky Hayden while he was still living.

“My brother, Nicky, a few years back, he was an ambassador for Strider and we came to the shelter to give out Strider bikes, which are little-bitty bicycles with no pedals that the kids just kid of scoot along with them,” Nicky’s sister Kathleen Hayden McFadden recalled. "This is very special because, for some kids, this is the first toy they’ve ever received and they were brand new.

“Kind of don’t realize how many people he impacted because he’s your brother and he’s just a normal person, but its been an adjustment I think for everyone,” Nicky’s brother Roger told 14 News.

Several dozen listened as four of the sports professionals shared racing stories and memories of Hayden.

As for the funding, leaders say instead of relying on a few large donations they are turning to many smaller donations. Organization leaders stressed that no amount is too small.

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