A last act of kindness: Easthampton car wash kids turn day into fundraiser after benefactor suddenly dies

By MADDIE FABIAN

Staff Writer

Published: 07-25-2023 4:47 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton resident Daniel Williamson left an imprint on the lives of three young boys the day before he died unexpectedly on July 17, and now, they are returning the favor.

During their summer vacation, a group of three boys — Anthony Pacinella, 13; Christiano Corsello, 11; and Maddox Ciaschini, 14 — were looking for a way to make some lunch money. Too young to get a real job, they pondered their options, considered window washing, and ultimately settled on a small car washing “business.”

The boys set up shop on July 17 in the Advanced Auto Parts parking lot on Union Street with a rag, spray bottle, squeegee, sponge, soap and a blue canopy tent, and they started charging $10 for an exterior wash and $20 for both interior and exterior washes.

Across the way, Williamson, who works at Advance Auto Parts, noticed the boys’ efforts and walked outside to help them out. He generously gave them $30 to invest in their business, along with microfiber cloths and sponges made specifically for cars. Williamson even taught them how to properly wash a car, a skill he had learned the ins and outs of from his best friend, who owned a car wash.

“All of that stuff that he had really kinda started off our business,” Corsello said.

Pacinella chimed in, adding, “we were washing a car over there, and then [Dan] came outside and he was like, ‘We think this is a really cool thing for you guys to do.’”

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The very next day, on July 18, Williamson, of Easthampton, died unexpectedly at age 38.

“He had a love for kids his whole life. He has one son,” said Marla Kelley, Williamson’s mother. “It’s nice to know that he would do something like this, right up his alley. It’s very humbling to me.”

Upon hearing the news of Williamson’s passing, the boys decided they wanted to give back to his family and young son in honor of his memory.

So, on July 20, rather than keeping the money for themselves, Pacinella said, “We were like, we should do a fundraiser tomorrow and all the money we make donate towards his family.”

Between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., they raised $500 to donate to Williamson’s son.

“I think what we’re gonna do though, is Dan would want half the money to go to the boys to continue, and the other half for my grandson to help with whatever he needs,” Kelley said.

Throughout the day, Williamson’s friends and family, including his mom, dad and cousins, stopped by the tent to show their support for one another and for the boys’ efforts.

“My son is a social butterfly,” Kelley said. “Danny was always working and through his jobs, he met many many people … Danny was always a happy-go-lucky person. When you met him, you wouldn’t forget him. He was just a wonderful person.”

Maddie Fabian can be reached at mfabian@gazettenet.com or on Twitter @MaddieFabian.]]>