Facing her first Christmas without her 7-yearold son Wyatt, Lara McDaniel said she asked God to help her overcome her anger and sorrow after he was killed in a freak accident.
Her son died suddenly in January when a hill of dirt collapsed on top of him at the family’s equestrian center.
She said since her son was a big animal lover, a rescue group donated a dog in his memory to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, with group homes in Bulverde and New Braunfels.
“They’re the forgotten children,” McDaniel said.
She said most are in state custody, having been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse.
“My thought was I don’t have Wyatt to share Christmas with. They don’t have their families to share Christmas with. It was a good fit,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said she wants to give each of the 60 children five gifts that they’ve asked for, many already donated.
She said her son would have loved the idea.
His mother said, “I think he would be really happy about it. He was such a beautiful, giving little boy.”
McDaniel said her job now is keeping Wyatt’s memory alive by creating his legacy.
Given her experience, McDaniel said she also has established Bridges of Support for families living with the pain of unexpectedly losing a child.
She said her efforts on behalf of foster children are a form of therapy.
McDaniel said, “Giving back to the community in a way that brings you joy, is a way for you to channel all that pain.”
She said for her, turning her sadness into helping others, “gives Wyatt’s life purpose.”