By John Krinjak


Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

EXETER, R.I. (WLNE) -- Little Michael Lorenzen would have turned five on Sunday. 

"He loved ice cream more than anything. It was his favorite, favorite food," said his mother Kellie Lorenzen. 

Michael's young life was cut short in January, after a fire tore through his family's Coventry home. His father Ed didn't make it out either.

But on this hot summer day, loved ones are enjoying ice cream at next to nowhere creamery in Exeter to keep Michael's memory alive.

"It means a lot," said Zacheri Lorenzen. "He was my brother, and it feels nice to know that people care about him-not just his family but people in general."

Michael had autism, and all proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the autism project, which helps kids in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

"I was immediately just drawn to it, and i said absolutely-we will definitely help out a good cause for your son," said Next to Nowhere Creamery co-owner Flora Melanis. 

"They're strangers who, through a tragedy, become friends," said Lori Gebler. 

Everyone went home with a keepsake gem attached to a nickel--representing the 5th birthday Michael never got to celebrate.

"From today forward, every time you find a nickel, see it as a sign from Michael. If you so choose, make it a reason for a random act of kindness and know your friend Michael is watching over you," said Gebler. 

Scoop after scoop, cone after cone, family and friends say they can't help but think Michael is looking down with a big smile on his face.

"It means a lot that people would take the time out of their day to just think about him long enough to eat an ice cream cone," said Lorenzen. 

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018