Krum Mom Channels Her Grief By Helping Others

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KRUM (CBS11) – After her son Bryan passed away, Debbie Vaughn started filling food pantries.  But not just any food pantries.

“When I go down the hall, I touch his face,”said Debbie Vaughn.

She motioned to a collage of her son that hangs in her home and offers her comfort.

For nearly 42 years, Bryan Collier’s smile lit up her life, and that of others.

“That’s what people remember him by, his smile,” she said.

Collier was born with craniofacial dysplasia. Vaughn said doctors did not expect him to live past his teens.

“He was never to walk, hold his head up, or feed himself. But he did all those things. He defied all odds,” said Vaughn.

He was a constant and beloved presence at her beauty salon.

“So many times you could find Bryan over in the dryer area with the ladies, sitting under a dryer with his feet propped up,” Vaughn remembers.

When Bryan passed away last summer, Vaughn’s light was dimmed.

“When that is gone, you’re empty,” she said.

Vaughn decided to do something to honor her son’s kind spirit.

Since Thanksgiving, she has been filling food pantries that carry her son’s name.

One lives in the lobby of Denton’s Central Fire Station, where her husband, Glen Vaughn, served as a firefighter for decades.

There’s a “Bryan’s Pantry” at a fire station in Krum, and one in Pilot Point. All are accessible 24 hours a day.

“I wanted there to be a place where a person could go to get whatever they needed at whatever time they needed,” Vaughn said.

The community has responded by helping keep the shelves full.

Over Christmas, one family donated $1,500, the money they said they would have spent on holiday gifts, to the mission.

“Bryan loved people, but he especially loved children. He’d be honored to help a child,” Vaughn said.

Pantries in Plano and Prosper are scheduled to open in later this month.  Three others will be set up at fire stations in Lubbock.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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