SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been nearly a month since a crash on Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls took the life of 20-year old Jaren Fountain.
Now some people are ‘stepping up,’ and honoring him in a way that will benefit others.
One of the things Jaren is remembered for is his love for shoes, especially unique, colorful tennis shoes. That’s why staff at the Orthopedic Institute helped organize a shoe drive in his honor to benefit local kids.
Nearly a month after Jaren died in a crash, his family keeps the memories of him close.
“Jaren was a very energetic go-getter, the second his feet hit the floor he had his plan for the day,” Jaren’s mom, Julie Arnold said.
And when those feet hit the floor, they were in shoes showing his personality.
“The wilder, the better,” Julie Arnold said. “I think with Jaren, shoes just equaled confidence and he had a whole plethora of shoes, and a matter of fact shortly before he passed away I had to invest in a new shoe rack for him and his collection.”
Jaren’s step-dad works at Orthopedic Institute which worked with his family to find a special way to honor him.
“We also have what we call our OI Cares Committee and so when we learned of Lee and Julie’s loss, that committee, reached out to them to see how we could come along side them and support them through this difficult time,” Orthopedic Institute hand surgeon, OI Cares Committee, David Jones said.
Orthopedic Institute, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, and Paradigm teamed up and collected over 100 pairs of shoes for kids at the Children’s Home Society.
“Everybody has been so generous, and we are so greatly appreciate of this, it’s beyond our expectations,” Jaren’s step-dad, Lee Arnold said.
“Kids are going to get some new shoes, they’re going to feel good about this and spread some love and joy in their lives and really honoring the love and joy that Jaren brought into the world,” development director Children’s Home Society, Rick Weber said.
A step to keep Jaren’s memory alive.
“One nice thing is that I go by Children’s Home Society everyday, both of us, and so we get to see the kids playing so when we see them and they have these awesome tennis shoes, it will put a smile on our face because we know JJ has touched their hearts,” Lee Arnold said.
The shoes were delivered to the Children’s Home Society Tuesday afternoon.