Community steps up to help family of man who died saving his wife and child from Spokane River

SPOKANE, Wash. — A local father is being remembered as a hero. 

Luke Gardner jumped into the Spokane River to save his wife and youngest daughter from drowning. 

He completed that mission; his wife and daughter made it safely to shore. It took several moments for them to realize Luke was still missing. 

Search crews found his body not long after. He was only 34. 

Law enforcement and community members celebrated Luke on Saturday. A surprise parade brought his wife, Heather, to tears. 

More than 100 people drove by her home, dropping off cash and gift cards to support the family as they navigate these tragic times. 

Together, they lined up. Heather Gardner had no idea they were coming. 

“Her best friend and I have been working together,” said Liberty Lake Mayor Shane Brickner. “She told her she’s taking her out to brunch.” 

It’s been just over a month since Heather’s husband died rescuing her and their youngest child from the water at Corbin Park. 

“He was really an amazing person so it’s just so sad to lose somebody that doesn’t deserve to go yet,” said Brittney Edwards. 

As Heather’s friend, Edwards has supported her along the way. There’s been a lot of tears, though they were happy ones on Saturday. 

As people drove by, they dropped off cards and cash. Several local businesses are offering their services for free. Heather’s lawn will be mowed. If her car needs new tires or an oil change? Consider it done. A baker will even make birthday cakes for the kids. 

A GoFundMe set up for the family has already raised more than $29,000. Heather’s friends are also setting up an account at STCU, so that anyone who wants to help the family can donate. 

READ: Man dies while rescuing wife and child from Spokane River, deputies say