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Changemaker: Young Bellingham man’s generosity continues, even in death

BELLINGHAM, Wash-- Jordan Slagle "lived generously," according to his family.

So after the 26-year-old from Bellingham unexpectedly died July 7, 2016, those who loved him made a commitment to continue Jordan's legacy.

It's seen in Gina Garding, who now works in special education at Sehome High School thanks to the effort.

“I think that I wouldn’t have gotten to this point in my career without the help from Jordan," Garding said.

She received a scholarship in Jordan's name that helped her finish college and get her teaching certificate. Garding worked with Slagle at Bellingham’s Boundary Bay Brewery.

Megan Gambill, another member of the wait staff, also finished college with plans to become a teacher thanks to the scholarship and Jordan.

“He’s just such a good, good friend." Gambill said. "I always carry him in my heart for sure.”

For Jordan's parents, the pain of losing their son is still present -- still raw.

“Losing Jordan is the unimaginable loss," said John Mark Slagle, Jordan's father.

Jordan's mother, Mona Garcia Slagle, adds, “Parents should never have to bury their child.”

Their son never woke up after a night out drinking with friends. Instead of dwelling on how Jordan died, his family made a decision to live how Jordan lived.

“In all elements of his human character, he lived generously," said Jordan's father. "So we want to do the same.”

To date, the scholarship has supported seven different Boundary Bay Brewery employees.

“It just makes my heart sing,” said the owner of the brewery, Janet Lightner.  “To see their dreams come true. Who doesn’t like to see their dreams come true, right?... And that’s Jordan.”

Still, Jordan’s family wanted to do more for the community. So they started a non-profit called Rooted Generosity. They've hosted toy drives, blood drives, made valentines for people with dementia, and made breakfast for kids attending Saturday School. We watched as they donated new furniture for The Ground Floor, a new day shelter for homeless youth in Bellingham.

Jordan's longtime friend says Jordan is there for every good deed.

“Inside, it feels like I’m doing it for him," said Michael Baldwin. "He can’t be here, so I might as well be here for him.”

Jordan's mother said Jordan is still making contributions in so many ways.

“What I love is that this opportunity is going to let people who have never met Jordan, get to know Jordan," said Garcia Slagle. "To realize, we all have a little bit of Jordan in us. We can all be generous.”

So we honor Jordan Slagle for being a true Changemaker in our community.

If you would like to learn more or contribute to the effort, go to: RootedGenerosity.org

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