PLAINFIELD, IL (WPRI) - When Great White's Ty Longley took the stage at The Station a decade ago, he was ‘very excited' about becoming a father in the summer of '03.
But as great as his expectations might've been, he could have no idea his son would start a charity in his honor before the boy's age reached double digits.
"He'd planned on making a nursery on the band's tour bus," Heidi Longley tells us from the home Ty and her bought in Illinois, months before the fire. "He was convinced we were having a boy. He even named him Acey."
Flash forward 10 years, and you might guess 9 year old Acey Longley, with his long curly mane, was the son of a rock star. And the likeness to the dad he never met is unmistakable.
"He won't let me cut his hair," Longley says.
The kid also has musical chops like Dad, banging away at his drums to ‘relieve stress', he tells us via Skype.
"Sometimes if I have a bad day, it makes me feel better," Acey says.
His mom was about 3 months pregnant on February 20, 2003. Longley flew to Rhode Island after the deadly fire, hoping she would find Longley.
"It was just horrible," she says.
Longley returned to Rhode Island 3 years later to offer testimony in the sentencing for Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele.
"Ty was supposed to be my life partner," Longley said during the March 9, 2006 hearing. "Ty wasn't just a member of Great White. He was my baby's daddy.
- Interactive: Station Fire Timeline
As a single mother, she made sure her son heard plenty of stories about his rock star father.
"How he really wanted to see me," Acey explains. "And how he really did love me. How he named me."
Longley sent video she shot of her son playing drums at a concert by one of the bands that stays close to her family of 2. Another clip shows Acey hitting a guitar with a power stroke while on the stage with the band Slaughter.
"They knew Ty," his mom says.
But following in his dad's musical foot steps was not quite enough for young Acey. Last March, he told his mom he wanted to do something extra to honor the man he wishes he had met. So, at 8, Acey, with his mom's help, organized a charity to collect toys for hospitalized children.
"I do it to help sick kids in the hospital and to do this in memory of my father," he tells us.
It's called B.E.A.T.S, as in Bringing Everyone A Tremendous Smile .
"He's only 8 but he did and does most of it," his mom tells us.
Acey collects drum sticks, I-tunes cards and Legos, handing them out at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Illinois. Acey sums up his goal in 3 syllables.
His dad knows all about it according to his mom who tells him this.
"You're father is pretty proud of you and he's looking down on you," Acey says in a sweet voice that doesn't quite match his grown up idea. "Saying oh wow, my son is doing this charity so people can remember me. I'm not forgotten."
Heidi Longley is convinced her little boy is far more grown up than her. Acey doesn't argue.
"It is true. True story," Acey says over his mom's laughter in the background.
Acey's charity is not allowed to accept cash but you can find out what you can donate by clicking on either of his links.
Copyright WPRI 12
Nineteen students have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness since Saturday.
A vacant home in Providence was heavily damaged by an overnight blaze, the cause of which is now being investigated as suspicious.
Child hospitalized after being struck by vehicle.
A local fire chief is hanging up his hat after decades on the job.
Residents gathered for a candle light memorial ceremony Tuesday evening, honoring Nelson Mandela for his life of service in the struggle for human dignity.