Dayton pastor leaves behind a legacy

DAYTON, Wash. -- Teenagers can rarely agree on anything. But in the small town of Dayton, they all agree on one thing: a local pastor's effect on kids.

Pastor Greg Bye died suddenly, leaving a hole in this little community.

The words came easy.

"There's no other person like him," says Stephanie Wright.

"You see his smile and it just opens your eyes," Cruz Ramirez says.

"He probably saved my life," James Frovarp says.

Students and church members from all walks of life were quick to share their feelings about Pastor Greg Bye.

Fifteen years ago, the Dayton man had a simple idea: provide lunch once a week to the kids who most need it.

His church was just across the street from the school.

"From there, he said, 'Bring your friends,' and it just kind of grew," says Stephanie Wright.

She got her first free lunch from the pastor when the program started. Almost two decades later, she came back to pass along his good spirit.

From freshmen to seniors, athletes to honors students, hundreds were touched by Pastor Greg.

Sophomore James Frovarp called Greg a second father.

"It's a shame that the community lost someone who was so faithful to it and always did his best to try to make sure people were happy," he says.

Senior Cruz Ramirez told me the weekly lunches were only a small part of Greg's outreach.

"He's the first guy to come up and say, 'I'm here for you,' and give his word," he says.

Stephanie says his welcoming attitude made all the difference. The teachings that came with the free food didn't scare anyone away.

"Kids came knowing, we're going to sing praise songs and we're going to hear about God, and yet they still came," she says.

James noted Greg's attitude and servant heart:

"He made a big impact on the community. A big one."

"There's no other person like him," Stephanie says.

"It's hard to believe that he'll be gone, but I guess he's doing his work up in heaven," Cruz says.

Pastor Bye died of heart complications.

The weekly lunches were provided by the church. Volunteers say they plan to keep the program going.