Everett piano man raises $12,000 to help teens 'March For Our Lives' in DC

EVERETT, Wash. -- While Washington, D.C., is gearing up for 500,000 people to 'March For Our Lives', at least five of those students will be from Snohomish County.

It's all thanks to the fundraising efforts of one man who felt Washington state needed representation in this national conversation.

Roger Gable's life work is making music sound even sweeter. In Everett, he owns Gable Piano, where he tunes and repairs the instrument.

But he couldn't fix what, to him, is broken in the country: A series of mass school shootings.

Gable said he was riled up when nothing changed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 26 young kids and staff members died.

"For Sandy Hook, the kids were too young," he said. "They couldn't express themselves but now we've got young people who are just on the verge to vote and get into the politics of this."

Gable is speaking of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which claimed 17 lives in Parkland, Florida. For him, it seemed like a turning point and it meant it was time to act.

"I thought, I'm a piano tuner, what can a piano tuner do? And I thought, you know, maybe I'll just put an ad in the newspaper."

He paid for the advertisement out of pocket, asking for money to send local students to 'March For Our Lives' in Washington, D.C.

"I'm 69 years old and I thought everyone reads the newspaper," he said.

The donations barely trickled in -- and $1,400 wouldn't send even one kid on the trip.

He bought an even bigger advertisement, which got the attention of the local media. The money started pouring in and then Bailey Thoms, a Marysville Getchell High School student, called Gable.

"She says, 'Well I'm organizing a rally in Marysville and says, hey let's get together,' Gable shared. "Turns out, she had the students and I had the money."

While at first Bailey thought it was different that a piano tuner wanted to get involved, she quickly dismissed the thought.

"It doesn't really matter what he does, it's just the fact that he's doing this," Bailey said.

With the more than $12,000 Gable and Bailey raised, she and four other students from Snohomish County traveled to D.C. for Saturday's march. The opportunity was not lost on her.

"Everyone has opinions and thoughts on this and they don't just get to do on an all-expense paid trip to D.C. and share Washington's side of all this," Bailey said.

For Bailey, Washington's side includes the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting in 2014, where four students and the student gunman died. She had gone to middle school with most of the victims and she's wearing their names on her shirt to the march, along with other shooting victims throughout the state.

For Gable, the newspaper advertisement gamble was worth it and he expects the impact will be long lasting.

"I think they're going to realize at their age they're going to make a difference," he said.

It's a difference that was made possible, in part, by his own decision to act.