The Gavin Buchanan Memorial Foundation will be holding a fundraiser at Pet Food Express, Saturday. The funds will go toward the same thing the slain Benicia third grader was so passionate about in life: donating bulletproof vests to police dogs.
Gavin, 8, along with father Adam and mother Molly McAffee, was murdered in the family’s Greenwood cabin. Gavin’s half brother was arrested on suspicion of having committed the murders.
In October, members of Gavin’s family established The Gavin Buchanan Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the goal of carrying on his legacy.
“He was very passionate about protecting K-9 law enforcement officers,” Gavin’s cousin and foundation Chairwoman Brandi Narvaez said. “He was definitely passionate about this cause, and we are continuing that in his honor.”
Shortly before his 6th birthday, Gavin had converted all the money he had earned from chores and through the tooth fairy into a $100 bill. He then walked into Pet Food Express, which was holding a fundraiser for Bay Area police dogs, and donated the money.
Gavin’s efforts did not go unnoticed in the community. He was subsequently featured on a poster with Benicia police dogs outside Pet Food Express and was the subject of a 2014 Benicia Herald article. When asked why he would give up all his money to help a police dog, Gavin told then-staff reporter Donna Beth Weilenman, “So he doesn’t get shot and killed.”
The foundation will be holding its first big event Saturday at Pet Food Express.
“They are offering us the use of their self-service dog washing station,” Narvaez said. “Any patron who comes in that day and purchases a dog wash token for $15 or any increment will wash their dog and enjoy their day.”
The proceeds from the $15 purchases will go to the foundation who will then donate the money toward outfitting Benicia Police Department’s new K-9 unit vehicles. There will also be local law enforcement officers on site to do K-9 demonstrations and stations where people can have their names embroidered on dog collars.
“We’re going to have a fun energy and a fun crew all the way around,” Narvaez said. “It’s gonna be a really really great day.”
The foundation has more events planned for the summer, but Narvaez said the board is still waiting to see how Saturday’s event will go.
“We are looking to really knock it out of the park, but we’re also clear we need to learn how to do this,” she said. “In the future, we will make announcements about upcoming events.”
Narvaez expressed gratitude to the community for its support.
“We really want to make sure we stay partnered with them, express our gratitude and really look for the long term of continuing Gavin’s legacy,” she said. “We’re working with local law enforcement and really making sure that this little 8-year-old has a legacy that we can all be proud of.”
The fundraiser will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20 at Pet Food Express, located at 838 Southampton Road. A Benicia Police Department K-9 demonstration will be held at 2 p.m. For more information on the fundraiser or the foundation, contact Brandi Narvaez at (707) 365-5424.