Nicholas Augustavo wanted a family of his own.
A child of a large family, the five-year veteran Hanford firefighter would rush home after work to his then-fiancee Nikki and his young son Kaysen, said his friend and fellow firefighter Steve Griffith.
Nicholas and Nikki were married last Saturday. Pictures show a happy couple with 1 1/2-year-old Kaysen riding in a Radio Flyer wagon.
Three days after their wedding, joy turned to tragedy during the couple’s trip to Hawaii when they learned their young son had died overnight while staying with family in Snohomish County.
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The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating why the child died.
Hanford firefighters start GoFundMe
Now, Hanford firefighters are helping to raise money for their co-worker, including a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral costs and other expenses. The fundraiser has brought in more than $38,000 in a day as firefighters from across the country showed support.
Griffith, who has spent years commuting with Augustavo, said he is an excellent firefighter and paramedic.
“He’s a very well-respected member of the department,” Griffith said. “He’s excellent with patients. He brings a lot of joy and personality to our shift.”
Augustavo and his new wife arrived back in the state hours after learning the news about Kaysen and were met by firefighters on the tarmac at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when they landed.
Support for Augustavo has been widespread
Griffith said firefighters from as far away as Texas have shown support for the family.
“It amazes me what can happen so fast with our community when the word gets out,” Griffith wrote on a Facebook post. “In a matter of hours, they have offered counseling, food, and one of the department chiefs is picking him up at the airport.”
People can donate to the GoFundMe campaign at bit.ly/AugustavoFundraiser.