MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — Not a day goes by that Mindy Mayes doesn’t think of her younger brother Jesse.
“It’s our first Thanksgiving and he’s not going to be there, and he’s usually the one in the corner cracking jokes with my husband and same on Christmas. There are so many pictures of us being goofy at Christmas. That’s going to be different, definitely very hard,” Mayes said.
Last May, Jesse Morris passed away at the age of 31. Mayes didn’t want to go into detail, but said it’s a phone call she’ll never forget.
“I just felt like I got hit by a train and just took off to meet my family down at his apartment and I’ll never forget that day,” she said.
Since then, Mindy has been trying to find a way to shine a light on her brother’s sudden passing.
“I never wanted this. I never expected my little brother to pass,” Mayes said. “In my grief, I was praying for peace and something was on my heart to do this.”
Mindy decided to start a foundation called “Live4Jesse” where she spreads small acts of kindness in his name. She chooses causes close to Jesse’s heart like veteran support, impoverished families, at-risk youth and homelessness.
“He was just getting started and this really is a way to further his name and to tell the world this was such a great kid. This was such a great person,” Mayes said.
Since its launch, Mayes left her job to devote more time to the foundation and helping others. So far, she has used some of the money to sponsor a family for the holidays and give away random gift cards to strangers. She is also helping a local classroom.
“I know there are a lot of families that need help and we’ve all been there at one point or another, so it’s nice to be able to do this for somebody,” Mayes said.
Mayes said her brother once said, “I don’t need much, I just needed enough.” She said she hopes to finish right where he left off.
“We just want to help people who need enough. They might be struggling, so let’s give them enough, like Jesse wanted,” Mayes said.
If you know of a family or someone in need this holiday season, you can contact Mindy at Live4Jesse.org. On the website, you can also find ways to donate.