- Associated Press - Sunday, March 2, 2014

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - A good feeling in her heart motivates Jodi Fear to honor her late son, Brandon St. Pierre, by continuing his legacy of random acts of kindness.

For the past year, Fear has coped with and cried about the death of her 21-year-old son in a car accident. Though she acknowledges times of grief, performing random acts of kindness serves as a way of “passing a smile around” - that is, Brandon’s smile.

St. Pierre died in a one-vehicle accident Feb. 24, 2013, on Pennsylvania Route 208 in Pulaski Township after his car hit a tree and flipped. He was on his way back to the family home, where he lived with his mother, stepfather Glenn Fear, and siblings, Lindsey and Patrick. He had visited his girlfriend, Kristen Basista of Mineral Ridge, a student at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. “We don’t really know what happened,” Fear said.

What Fear does know is that her son’s concern for others was part of his lifestyle, and something she wanted to remember. “He had charisma and a way about him,” she said.

St. Pierre was a 2010 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, where he wore No. 77 on the football team. He was a junior economics major at Youngstown State University. St. Pierre also is a son of Gregory St. Pierre of Struthers.

A good friend, Tammy Creighton, suggested the idea of random acts of kindness. “It was her way of helping me,” Fear said. Fear and Creighton participate in the Chapel Crochet and Knitting Group at Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers.

Business-style cards with St. Pierre’s photo offer a brief explanation and mention his charismatic smile. The cards ask the recipient of the random act of kindness “to pass it on to someone else.” She’s distributed about 500 cards.

Fear said she’s remembered her son through various kind acts. These have included paying for the person behind her in the drive-through line at fast-food restaurants and Dairy Queen, leaving a check with her beautician to pay for the next customer and buying necessary items at a store and leaving them for the cashier to distribute. Fear said clerks have told her they are excited about passing on the kindness.

Fear also leaves random acts of kindness cards for recipients. The cards suggest they pass on the favor on the next 24th of the month.

The first anniversary of St. Pierre’s death was last week.

Fear said: “My faith has helped me.”

Fear said she performs the random acts of kindness “when the spirit moves me.” She said she wants to “focus on the good memories” and “take a page from his book and make people smile.”

Basista said she thinks of him daily. “It’s been a hard year,” she acknowledged. “I have a good support system in my family and friends.”

Basista said on the 24th of each month, she tweets about performing a random act of kindness.

Basista and St. Pierre met in 2011 and dated about two years.

“He had such a good heart and was a selfless person,” she said. She recalled instances where they would stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts and he would pay for customers behind him in line. If he saw an accident, he didn’t hesitate to help.

Patty Payne, a friend of Fear‘s, said her three sons, Robby, Billy and Jake, were friends of St. Pierre. “He had a wonderful smile … I still see it,” she said. Her sons felt their friend “was like a brother.”

When Payne organized a team for Poland Relay for Life, she said, “I didn’t know what I was getting into.” That was July 2012 and the temperature was quite high.

Brandon and my sons put pink bandannas on their heads because they were sweating so much,” she said. “He was such a help.” Last year, Payne had T-shirts made with photos of St. Pierre and “we walked a lap for Brandon.”

Fear said at her son’s calling hours and funeral, she was “overwhelmed by the concern.” She said family and friends had benefited from his generosity of spirit; then she found out others had been touched by him as well.

“There was such an outpouring of community support,” Fear said.

Fear said she hopes those who benefit from a random act of kindness will pay it forward. “We need to follow Brandon’s lead and make this world a better place,” she said.

Fear hopes that the random acts of kindness will continue her son’s favorite saying, “Have a good one.”


Information from: The Vindicator, https://www.vindy.com



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