Monthly Archives: July 2014

What Are You Doing to Honor Your Loved One?

I have chosen to plant a memorial tree and a lily in front of Justin’s bedroom window. There are other things that I have done or will be doing to honor Justin and his legacy. We have created two scholarship programs for the two schools he graduated. To raise money for these scholarships, we are having an annual balloon launch, 5k run and car shows to start off with. To make a difference in the community, I am planning on a “Be a Hero” campaign to help community children become the best they can be by continuing the “hero” qualities that Justin possessed. Justin wasn’t afraid to say no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Justin helped others as much as possible and was always spreading joy and laughter.

Losing Justin has changed our lives beyond belief. Justin was such a huge “force” in our family that now there is a void as big as he was. Everyday I try my best to honor Justin by being the best I can be and “Be a Hero” to someone by doing something he’d do. Another phrase you’ll hear in Waynesville is “Pay it forward, Justin style!” It is so hard to continue on but it has helped this mother by doing something for my baby.

How do you honor your loved one?

Sandy Cates

Continuing the Legacy

Justin was such a remarkable young man that touched so many people’s hearts in our community. The loss of a child is the most horrific thing that can happen to a parent, in my opinion. What can I do to honor him and have him remembered? This is the answer that I and some of my wonderful group of ladies that have held me up during my rocky journey. One was creating a Facebook page for Justin. I write letters to him, post pictures, write stories about my life with him and little fun facts. We have a balloon launch happening where we can celebrate Justin’s life and raise money for the memorial scholarship fund given in his name. I have created the “Be a Hero” campaign based on the amazingly positive qualities that he possessed. Justin was a hero in many ways and lived his life honorably and with integrity. I want to get with our schools and work with the small children to help those that need that extra help. I always talk about Justin, everywhere I go. I was in a local shop and the clerk and I was talking about Justin and what had happened to him. She brought up the July 4th parade, or 5th in our town. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea at first. Would people think I was trying to get recognition or make a show out of what happened? With much thought and consideration, after talking with my friends, I decided to promote the “Be a Hero” campaign. The point of this blog is that Justin left such a positive legacy that I feel compelled to keep it going and help other young people live their lives in such an honorable manner. I am so blessed to have a wonderful child that made good, healthy choices. Justin Back led by example. What have you done to continue the positive legacy your loved one left behind?

This is Justin Back in his gear for his Fire Science class at the Warren County Career Center

This is Justin Back in his gear for his Fire Science class at the Warren County Career Center