Annual life jacket drive sends important message, keep's little - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Annual life jacket drive sends important message, keep's little girl's memory alive

Posted: Updated:

9-1-17 UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - A local family is turning a tragedy into a tool of awareness.

On most days, people will go to Creations Salon and Spa to get their hair cut or colored, but for the next two weeks, they can go to donate to a good cause.

The salon's owner, Daya Cuillier, lost her niece Paris to drowning.

"Drowned in her family pool about eleven years ago, when she was only two years old," Cuillier said.

Paris's mom, Deanna, was determined to find a silver lining in the tragedy.

"She wanted to do something you know, so Paris's death would not be in vain."

And now, on September 16, Creations Salon and Spa will host the 9th annual Paris White Life Jacket Drive.

"We're shooting for 50 life jackets this year, and that's a pretty high goal. Last year we did 30...32," said Cuillier.

All of the life jackets are donated right to life jacket donor programs like the one you'll find in Howard Amon Park.

For Cuillier, it's an issue that resonates with a lot of people in the area.

"It's scary, water needs to be treated with a lot of respect."

And maybe it's for that reason that she and her family have gotten so much support from the community.

"People really get on board, and support us," she said. "We're just thankful."

If you would like to help, the official donation day is on the 16th.

"That's what we'll do is the best that we can, and hopefully save other lives the best that we can."

However, you can drop off a life jacket, or money for a life jacket, at Creations Salon and Spa at any time.

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9-20-16 ORIGINAL STORY:

KENNEWICK, WA - Daya Cuillier has kept her two year old niece's memory alive by hosting a life jacket drive for the past eight years.

"I guess it always makes me feel like I'm doing something," said Cuillier. "Something to help."

Cuillier organized the drive in 2005 after Paris drowned.

"It's always sad when I go to print the pictures," said Cuillier. "It's always sad, but at the same time it's helpful. Even if someone takes the life jacket and doesn't return it on the loaner board, that's why we do this."

Loaner boards supply people with life vests at no charge.

"For example, there's one at Howard Amon Park," said Cuillier. "That one is a closed one, but you just open it up and there's a life jacket in there. So say you go to the park that day and you don't have a life jacket, there's one for you."

Daya is not only keeping Paris' memory alive, she's sending a big message to the community.

"The life jacket is what's going to save a life," Cuillier said. "If we save one person's life then that's going to be worth it. If one life jacket saves one life, then the drive is successful."

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