Special to the Miami Herald

When Kevin Garcia saw a high-school classmate sitting by herself during lunch, he sat with her. When a hurricane was headed toward South Florida, he went to put the shutters on his grandparents’ home. And when a family friend’s 5-year-old son was trying to build a sandcastle, the teenager squatted next to the child to help.

“That’s how Kevin was. He had just a joy for people and cared about people,” said Maria Fiallo, Kevin’s mother.

Kevin died Dec. 9, 2008, in a car crash. He was 17.

To memorialize Kevin, his family created the Kevin Garcia Foundation. Since its inception, the foundation has donated countless toys, helped bring children to South Florida from abroad for life-saving and life-changing surgery, and awarded scholarships to high school students headed to college.

Each of the foundation’s endeavors reflects Kevin’s kindness and humanity.

He was good with children, said Maria Fiallo, 56. So his family asked for toys, instead of flowers, for his funeral. More than a truckload of toys were given to patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, part of Memorial Healthcare System, where Kevin was admitted.

That was the start of the Kevin Garcia Foundation.

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