Greene County Lights the Night Pink for Danika

By Benjamin Cox on April 20, 2022 at 4:32pm

Pink lights were everywhere in Greenfield on Saturday evening to honor the memory of an infant and her aunt who died tragically in a fire on March 31st.

The pink LED porchlights, a pink heart at the Greenfield elevator, and a pink cross on the Greenfield water tower honored the memory of 11 month old Danika Alderfer and her “Nana,” 77 year old Nancy Hillis. Saturday would have been Danika’s first birthday.

Greenfield residents Morgan Coffey and Morgan Vinyard have led an effort to show community support to the family by selling the pink LED porch lights. The cost for an individual light was for $20, with the intention of raising $20,000. The goal was to establish a good starting point for the Danika Alderfer Fire Prevention and Protection Program for local school-age children.

Coffey says the community’s response was tremendous and not surprising, as the Greenfield community always seems to come together in tragic times to help one another: “We expected a good turnout but Morgan [Vinyard] posted the original post on a Monday night [after the fire], and by Tuesday morning, we sold nearly 3/4ths of the first batch. We ordered 600 to start, and of that 600, and by 8PM that Monday night and by 8AM Tuesday morning they were almost gone. She and I couldn’t keep up. All day that Tuesday, every spare second we had, we were trying to keep up with the orders because we didn’t want to miss someone or people to think we weren’t responding to them. We ended up having to order another 500. We ordered 1,500 total. Of those, we have less than 100 left.”

Coffey says they don’t have a complete total yet on the amount of money they’ve raised because the amount of free will donations they have received above the initial cost of purchasing a porch light has been numerous. She says orders are still coming in for the pink lights. She says that pink light orders have come in from all over Greene County and surrounding counties – especially in Jersey and Calhoun Counties.

Coffey says that many people are still lighting up the night for Danika, and likely will for some time. Danika’s father, Nate Alderfer is the chief deputy of the Greenfield Police Department and primarily works nights. Coffey says she wants the family to know that their love for the family goes on even beyond Saturday. She hopes that the lights will be a calm reminder that Greenfield still has the Alderfer family in their thoughts when Nate returns to work in the future: “They are LED lights and they have 10,000 burning hours. Everybody lit them up on Saturday. It’s to up to everybody and their own personal preference, but the ones on my porch will stay lit until they go out. There is a lot of people in town I’ve noticed who have done the same thing. There is still pink lights everywhere in town. That goes back to Nate working at night, and we wanted that to be something that he could see every night when he’s working. He’s not back to work yet, but eventually he will get there, and we wanted the lights to be something that he could see so that family knew that we have forgotten about Danika. We were still praying for them. We still love them, and we are still thinking about them.”

Greenfield High School students dressed in pink on Tuesday to honor Danika. (Photo Courtesy of Greenfield CUSD #10 Facebook Page)

Danika’s mother is Kari Alderfer a Greenfield alderwoman. Coffey says she has worked with Police Chief John Goode and Fire Chief Cory Hudson and they have plans to use the money beyond having the fire department and police work with school-age children at the grade school every year on fire prevention and fire protection. They are also going to use funds to purchase a piece of equipment to raise awareness about fires for the county in Danika’s name: “At one point, we did have a smoke house that was used for training purposes. As it turns out, as Chief Goode got to talking to different people, that one had been sold because of the repairs that needed done on it. Since then, Greenfield Fire Chief Cory Hudson has been looking around for different things, and he has located another one. He’s still looking to get quotes and make sure there is not anything better, but the smokehouse is now the number one goal [with the raise funds]. The fire prevention program that will go through the fire department and the school will be volunteer. All of our fire department is volunteer and they do a great job. They don’t get paid very much. Greenfield and Greene County is really lucky to have our first responders and the awesome job that they do. They were going to donate their time anyway. The program, in and of itself, isn’t going to take a lot of resources. They will order education materials and things that go with that, but the smokehouse is pretty much the number one thing the funds are going to go to now. The one that I think they found and are interested is well within the budget. Then, we would still have extra money left over to go towards repairs if it needs that. The smokehouse is a great training tool. It’s a simulator for what to do and how to react if you are in a situation if you are in a fire.”

Coffey says that the fire department will likely use the smokehouse at the upcoming Greenfield Homecoming as well as at town carnivals and possibly the Greene County Fair to educate the public.

Coffey hopes that with the pink lights, fundraising, and the smokehouse from the funds that have been raised it will allow Danika and Nancy’s memories live on in the community in perpetuity.

If you are interested in donating to the fund or wish to purchase one of the remaining pink porch lights, contact Morgan Coffey or Morgan Vinyard on Facebook messenger.