Ever since Nicholas Newby was killed in action in Iraq, his mother, Theresa Hart, has wanted to help military families in need in memory of her son.
Newby-ginnings of North Idaho, Inc. has given Hart that chance.
The new nonprofit that Hart founded serves as a conduit between donors and military families in need.
“I think we’ve found our niche,” Hart said. “We found a need in the community that we’re filling.”
Newby-ginnings accepts donations, including clothes, furniture, appliances and household items, at its facility at 1380 Biztown Loop in Hayden and gives those items for free to military families in need.
“This is so important to me,” Hart said. “It has given me a sense of pride and purpose. Nothing will ever bring Nick back, but I have to believe that he’d be proud of me for doing something good with what happened.
“It’s a way to honor and remember Nick. I know he’d give the shirt off his back for people. He didn’t have a chance to come home and be a veteran, but if he did, and he saw veterans struggling, this is what he would’ve done.”
Newby, 20, and Nathan Beyers, another local soldier, were killed on July 7, 2011, by an improvised explosive device while serving with the Idaho Army National Guard in Iraq.
Newby-ginnings, which formed two months ago, has been an instant success through Facebook and word of mouth, Hart said. Those who have assisted Hart are her husband, James; Jenifer Dumaw, another Gold Star mom from Spokane Valley; and Joy Rogers, whose husband Ryan served with Newby. Dumaw’s son Josh was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
Newby-ginnings has helped vets with gas money and their power bills. A hospital bed was given to a Gold Star family struck by cancer. A veteran who lost a lot of personal belongings to a fire was given items to help him get back on his feet. And the program recently helped National Guard families that signed up for Christmas assistance with donation bags.
“I’ve made a ton of friends doing this,” Hart said. “It has taken off so fast.”
Post Falls’ Anthony and Amber Kekauoha, who have three kids in their household, nearly had their power shut off during freezing temperatures, before Newby-ginnings paid for it. Anthony, who served with Newby, was in the middle of switching jobs and he and his family needed clothing.
“They’re an amazing set of people,” Amber Kekauoha said. “They’ve been through a lot, but they really care about veterans.”
Hart said there’s a constant demand to help military families.
“If you have PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), it can be hard to keep a job,” Hart said. “We’re seeing a lot of that.”
Hart said it makes her feel good to turn items around for those in need.
“Our veterans are well-respected in this area,” Hart said. “This is what people wanted to see. They love the idea that the items go to veterans or Gold Star families at no charge.”