Day of kindness planned in honor of father-to-be

Ottawa County

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan family is calling on others to perform random acts of kindness Feb. 6 to honor the anniversary of a loved one’s death.  

Jake Engel died of unexpected heart complications Feb. 6, 2018.  

“If you asked anybody who knew Jake for one word to describe him, they would say ‘kind,’” Jake’s sister Samantha Engel said.  

Engel described her younger brother as a man who loved life.  

At the time of his death, the 30-year-old father-to-be was working for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Prior to that, he worked for the West Michigan Whitecaps. 

Engel said for those close to Jake, the first anniversary of his death was a dark day.  

“I remember last year was extremely hard,” Engel told News 8.  

As the second anniversary of Jake’s death neared, Engel began brainstorming ways to honor her late brother.  

“I just thought what can we do to maybe bring some type of joy or kindness or just make it not such a negative, terrible day,” Engel said.  

‘The Jake Engel Kindness Project’ was the answer.  

“Jake was such a kind and giving person,” Engel said. “(I thought) Wouldn’t it be great to ask everyone to spread that love and kindness on Feb. 6 and then post it on this website so we can all see all the good things people are doing in his honor.” 

Scrolling through the Facebook page created for the project, Engel is overwhelmed by all those already planning their acts of kindness.  

“I will be telling them about Jake, dedicating our efforts that day to this wonderful young man who lives on through his legacy in our lives,” Jake’s elementary school teacher posted to the page.  

Whether Jake was a friend or a stranger, Engel said everyone is invited to do a deed of kindness in his honor on Feb. 6. 

“It could be leaving flowers on someone’s car, it could be shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk, it could just be anything,” Engel said.  

Engel had random acts of kindness cards printed up with Jake’s picture on it, asking those who participate to give a card with their act of kindness. 

For more information about the project and how to get the cards, visit the project’s Facebook page.

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