The mother of Ethan Chapin, a University of Idaho student who was murdered last year, has created a new foundation in her son’s memory that aims to help her local community.
Chapin, 20, was stabbed to death in the early hours of November 13 at a home near University of Idaho Campus along with three other students – including his girlfriend, 20-year-old Zana Kernoodle, and her roommates, 21-year-old Madison Maugen and 21-year-old Kylie Goncalves.
In a Facebook video, Chapin’s mother, Stacy Wells Chapin, said losing her son was “definitely a challenge” but that she had found a way to turn the love and support her family had received into an opportunity to help others.
She and her husband, Jim Chapin, entered into a partnership with Tulip Valley Farms, Inc Mount Vernon, Washington to sell bulbs, tulips, and T-shirts and to form Ethan’s Smile, a foundation that will help her local community as well as the University of Idaho. The school is located in Moscow, Idaho.
She captioned the video, “What better way to honor Ethan than by creating a foundation that allows other kids to follow their dreams.”
She said it has “grown exponentially” because the family has “literally heard from people all over the world.”
“Selling bulbs turned into fresh cut tulips. It became a T-shirt and as a result, Jim and I created a foundation with the goal of offering scholarships here and there in the Skagit Valley. We’ll take a portion of the proceeds from everything sold here to give away,” she said in the video posted Tuesday afternoon. to our new foundation called Ethan’s Smile.”
In the video, she also thanked people for their continued love and support for her family.
Tulip Valley Farms sells Ethan Smile’s tulips – yellow and white – and other items including posters, t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and calendars. Proceeds from the purchases go to a scholarship and the University of Idaho, she said. “It’s amazing how many lives this can touch,” she added excitedly.
“It’s a great way to honor Ethan. He was an amazing kid,” said Stacey. “Let’s all be honest, life without him is hard.”
But she said the family “has noticed that people recover when they are around us.”
Stay also explained that she and Jim volunteered their time to help out in the lavender fields and said they would be happy to meet any clients who visit the area.
“With this, we hope you will swing by here during the month of April and say hi. We’d love to see you at Tulip Valley Farms,” Chapin said.
Tulip Valley CEO Andrew Miller called Ethan in a statement on the Tulip Valley Farms website “a dear friend and former team member,” and said the loss of four University of Idaho students left the entire community “devastated and individuals looking for a way to help.”
“I will remember Ethan standing in the lavender fields with a big smile, surrounded by people who knew and loved him,” said Miller.
Naming the lavender directly after Ethan was “actually bureaucratic and involved a lot of international organizations” but her solution was more “meaningful to Ethan and his family, as well as the University of Idaho,” the CEO explained.
Instead, the company named the yellow and white tulip bulb combination “Ethan’s Smile,” since “tulips are a symbol of Skagit Valley and a smile is a symbol of Ethan.”
He added, “What we found is better, I think.”
Stacy Wells Chapin has shared several posts about how the family is recovering in the aftermath Moscow murders and how her two other children, Maisie Chapin and Hunter Chapin, who attend the same school as their late brother Ethan, were coping.
“Recently we’ve been asked to look for a victory every single day – even if it’s the tiniest little victory. Admittedly challenging some days, but excellent advice,” Stacy wrote in a Jan. 3 post.
Referring to her other children, who have since returned to study at the University of Idaho, she added, “We are grateful for each other at school, siblings, friends, and other amazing support systems. … They each handle this new normal in their own way, and that’s okay.” Our job as parents is to be there and provide tools and resources as needed.”
“Yesterday, we got to drop them off again at the University of Idaho. Hunter was so happy to be back in the fraternity, and Maizie was warming up to the idea, but it was so nice to hear all the girls screaming with pleasure to see her. It was so good to hear this mom’s heart!!” said Stacey in another post.
She added, “Maisie and Hunter are rock stars, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”
A notice on the Tulip Valley Farms website states that all profits from the Ethan’s Smile blend will go to Ethan Chapin’s family and community.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.