RUSHVILLE — A parent’s worst nightmare is getting the news that something has happened to their child. And to get the news that your child has been murdered is nearly unbearable.
Misty Kuneman knows this first hand, but is striving to bring hope out of the tragic death of her son Justin Crowder. Justin was murdered in a robbery attempt in Indianapolis in July of 2017. His friends Dominque Miller and Jordan Wright were also murdered in the incident. In 2018, five individuals were convicted and sentenced for the murders.
“Hope Flowers began a year ago. God called on me to do it. After Justin’s murder, I had so much resentment, but I found forgiveness shortly after the five involved were convicted,” Misty said.
“I wanted to do something in Justin, Jordan and Dom’s honor to spread kindness. We are bombarded by negativity in this world and it was on my heart to do something to create a ripple effect of kindness,” Misty added.
Misty started with random acts of kindness, but that moved into what Hope Flowers is today. Misty and her husband Brett started using recycled flowers to make gifts for those battling addiction, suffering from a loss of a loved one and needing hope.
Misty is on the board at East Hill Cemetery in Rush County. She approached the board and asked if she could use the flowers that were being discarded and give them a second life with Hope Flowers.
“I got some crazy looks the first time I was searching through the trash bins, but now most everyone knows why I am there,” Misty said.
The newest project for Hope Flowers is honoring the veterans and their memory at East Hill Cemetery. Misty and volunteers will be placing a cross and flower on the grave sites of all 1,318 veterans at East Hill for this Memorial Day.
“Many from the community have donated flowers and money to help make it possible. We get 90 percent of our flowers from East Hill Cemetery. Through the spring cleanup, I go through the trash bins to recycle them. East Hill has been instrumental in making this happen. All the flowers are washed and painted one by one,” Misty said.
Misty’s husband and local veteran Mitch Hendrix made all the crosses for the project.
“My husband has converted our basement into a workshop. Our main goal is to continue to spread love and kindness in Justin’s name,” Misty said.
Each of the flowers has eight petals on them – one for each of the victims and one for each of the perpetrators.
“God is my compass. This has brought purpose for my loss,” Misty added.
The Memorial Day project was selected by Misty as a means to say thank you to all veterans for what they have done for our country. This has been a huge project to complete with more than 1,300 Hope Flowers and crosses being made and placed. Nearly 1,000 have already been delivered to the East Hill office. Anyone interested in helping place the flowers and crosses can volunteer at East Hill at 10 a.m. today (May 23). The local veterans association will also be placing flags for all the veterans.
“I hope this helps even one person find hope and helps them see what they can do to spread kindness,” Misty said. “I also want to make this world a little better place for my younger son Westyn Herrell. To show him how to rise above life’s tragedies.”