On the one-year anniversary of her son’s murder, Sandy Cates was encouraging others to perform random acts of kindness.
The random acts of kindness, she’s said, are reflective of her son, Justin Back, 18, who would offer to help carry groceries for elderly people to their vehicles or step in to break up a fight.
“He touched so many lives while he was here. He’s still doing that,” Cates said.
Austin Myers and Tim Mosley, both 19, of Clayton, were convicted of murdering Back at his Wayne Twp. home on Jan. 28, 2014. Myers is awaiting the death penalty, while Mosley is serving a life sentence in prison.
Friends and family Back encouraged people to “pay it forward” on Wednesday. After doing a good deed to honor Back’s memory, participants were asked to spread the word through online social networks with #PIF4Justin in the message.
A Facebook page dedicated to the cause also asked people to post messages and photos about how they were paying it forward. Several people left comments Wednesday on the site.
“We paid for the car behind us today at Chick Fil A and picked up some cookies to support orphans! #pif4justin,” posted Ashley Macy-Taber.
Ann Kremer wrote, “#PIF4Justin I contributed to help the family of the dear little boy who recently died in a fire.”
Waynesville High School sold pink bracelets with the message “random acts of kindness” on them, with all the proceeds going to the Justin Back Memorial Scholarship Fund, according to Cates.
She says family, friends and strangers have helped raised approximately $3,000 for the Justin Back Memorial Scholarship Fund. Waynesville High School will receive $2,000 while the Warren County Career Center will receive $1,000. Back, who was planning to join the Navy, attended both schools.
Several Waynesville businesses also participated in the movement.
Lauren Patrick, co-owner of Pat’s Place, said her store and Mitchell’s Plumbing gave away free doughnuts, coffee and ice cream to customers.
“It’s amazing to see the giving spirit of everyone come out,” she said. “And we hope others will pay it forward.”
One customer, Patrick said, was inspired to pay it forward.
“I had a customer pay for lottery tickets to hand out to people,” she said.
Cates said random acts of kindness doesn’t have to cost a dime, though.
“If you see an older person struggling with their groceries help them put it in the car,” just as her son did, she said.
“He was larger than life,” Cates said. “He had a huge smile. He was funny. You never knew what was going to come out of that kid’s mouth. He would keep you in stitches.”
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