PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Liz and Jason Derkosh know something about loss.

It’s been more than a year since they lost their son, Maddox, in a tragic accident at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

On Friday night, the Derkosh’s joined hundreds of children from the Pittsburgh area that have also lost loved ones for the annual Tree of Hope Christmas Celebration.

“It’s really bringing the charity that they had envisioned when this charity happened full circle,” said Megan Lefebvre, a family friend. “By seeing [the trucks are] collected at different drop boxes, and then they’re seeing the children receive them and have the smiles on their faces.”

Liz and Jason delivered personally, and then passed out toy trucks from the Trucks for Maddox Foundation.

The effort was founded after their son’s tragic death based on his love for trucks.

It’s a chance to see the sparkle in the eyes of other children, a chance to hear the laughter of kids, a chance keep the memory of Maddox alive through giving to others.

“Liz and Jason label each truck,” said Lefebvre. “They do all the packaging of each box and it’s all a labor of love.”

At Friday’s event, more than 400 kids received toys.

This year, the Trucks for Maddox drive could easily top 2,000 trucks of all sizes and shapes, each one bearing that special sticker that read “From Your Friend, Maddox Derkosh.”

It’s a reminder of the little boy whose special gift, a warm smile behind those big glasses, started it all.

“They just want to keep his legacy and spirit alive,” Lefebvre said. “I think he would be proud of such wonderful parents.”

More on the Pittsburgh Zoo Tragedy
More Reports by Lynne Hayes-Freeland

Watch & Listen LIVE