Founder of area victims' advocacy group dies

Glen Mitchell, 76, founded Compassionate Families after son was murdered

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The co-founder of a local group that provides help to crime victims died at 76 on Sunday.

Glen Mitchell co-founded the Compassionate Families group after his son Jeff was murdered outside Terry Parker High School in 1993.

Mitchell devoted the past two decades of his life to helping other victims of violent crime.

One Middleburg family will especially remember what Mitchell and Compassionate Families did for them.

Andrea Crutchfield lost her son Brandon Blansit to murder three years ago after his roommate killed him.

He was the father to two children, 13-year-old Nathan Crutchfield and 11-year-old Kalei Crutchfield, who Andrea has adopted as her own.

"It takes me back to a very sad time initially, but a time that we would not have been able to get through without them," Andrea said. "Compassionate Families brought a lot of positive during a very, very dark time in our lives."

Glen Mitchell and Compassionate Families was there for Andrea and her family when they needed it the most.

"I remember I just broke down and Glen Mitchell was there, because like I said he's been through the same tragedies," 16-year-old Madison Crutchfield said. "And he held my hand, he was the sweetest man. We talked for awhile away from everyone else and I'll never forget it because he was just so impactful and compassionate, just sweet."

Mitchell offered support, counseling and just about any sort of help each person needed, including the youth at Camp Maddie, part of an established youth program initiative of Compassionate Families.

"I remember that it helped me a lot with a lot of hard things and it showed me that a lot of people go through this, but we all stick together as a family and work together to get through," Kalei said.

Mitchell, along with Compassionate Families, turned tragedy into a victory as a victims' advocate.

"So, because of them our whole direction in life has changed to where it could have been but not a positive. Now, it's all about helping other people and that's what we do, all of us as a family," Andrea said.

One of Mitchell's friends told News4Jax his passing is a huge loss to the community.

Mitchell's friend said his life was a rock in the ocean and the ripples will go on for a long time.

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