When 21-year old Billy Dezern was fatally struck by an oncoming truck allegedly driven by a drunk driver in the early morning hours of November 25, his passing sent shockwaves through the Louisville vaping community. Billy and his father had pulled over to the side of the road to help a stranded motorist when the incident occurred. Billy was pronounced dead at the scene while his father Kenny Sr. was taken to a local hospital and listed in critical condition. Kenny is expected to survive.
Young Billy was a regular customer of several local vape shops. He also sold vaping products for one of the local retailers and dreamed of one day opening his own store.
According to many members of the Louisville vaping community, Billy was one of a kind. He was always upbeat, easy to talk to, and never met a stranger that he didn’t like. Billy was considered a young man who would “do anything for anybody,” says Abby Wynn, the manager of Louisville’s Thoroughbred Vapors. Unfortunately, his most frequent act of kindness seems to have inadvertently led to his death.
News of vaping community fundraiser spreads across social media
Billy’s brother, Kenny Jr., has also stated that on the Friday night before the accident, Billy had secretly confessed that he was planning to propose to his long-time girlfriend of three years, Taylor McDonald. Billy was hoping to pop the question on Christmas Day.
"He was just such a good person and he didn’t deserve this," says Ms. McDobald. "There will never be another Billy Dezern. He was one of a kind, and I will always love him."
After Billy’s death, the tight-knit vaping community of Louisville, Kentucky, almost immediately decided to organize a fundraiser on Billy’s behalf to help his family pay for funeral expenses. Initially, the plan was to simply hold a small fundraiser this coming Friday, December 2 at the Thoroughbred Vapors shop. As news began to spread of Billy’s story through social media, A GoFundMe webpage was also created to allow those who are unable to attend the Friday fundraiser to contribute.
People from all over the country are welcome to offer financial donations large and small, and many people have, regardless of whether they knew Billy or not. Some people are also leaving loving messages to the victim’s family and friends while others are simply giving financial donations anonymously.
During this hectic Black Friday week when millions of people are busy maxing out credit cards and buying expensive gifts for loved ones, it’s nice to see that the vaping community, both in Louisville and around the world, is banding together in a wonderful display of the True Meaning of Christmas.