On day marking son’s death, Clay County mother encourages ‘Brandon acts of kindness’ in his honor

Andrea Crutchfield asking for your help keeping Brandon Blansit’s memory alive by doing something nice for someone else

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Clay County mother is remembering her son nine years after his stabbing death.

Instead of focusing on pain and anger, she and her family are using the somber mark to encourage random acts of kindness in his honor.

Andrea Crutchfield remembers her son Brandon Blansit, 27, with a smile, choosing to be positive instead of staying sad.

“Very, very witty, made you laugh all the time. He has a father, a brother, just a real outgoing kid and adult,” Crutchfield said. “He is missed and loved by so many.”

Tuesday is what she calls his “angel-versary.” It marks nine years since his brutal death.

On Jan. 10, 2014, Crutchfield’s life changed forever when authorities say Blansit’s roommate stabbed him at least 10 times after the two got into an argument. That man was initially charged with second0-degree murder but then was convicted on a manslaughter charge. He’s serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Blansit left behind two children.

At first, Crutchfield was distraught by her loss and angry about what she thought was a light sentence.

“One thing that he can’t do is take away our memories and our goodness,” Crutchfield said. “And Brandon would want this to be a positive day, and he wouldn’t want us sitting around crying. He’d rather us sit around and tell stories and hear about all the wonderful things that happened because he touched a lot of people in his life.”

So each year, she started encouraging family and friends to do “Brandon acts of kindness” for a stranger.

“I get floods of emails and such, they tell me what they’ve done. Some people tip the waitress 100% on their bill, they mow their neighbor’s lawn, taking out the trash for their neighbors, they have bought the whole police department lunch before,” Crutchfield said. “I mean, there’s just a variety of just wonderful things that happen every Jan. 10, and we’ve made it an annual tradition.”

She says there have now been thousands of good deeds in honor of her late son, setting a good example for his young sister and his children, who Crutchfield would later raise. All three are doing well and working on their education.

“Although I think of him every day, and a big piece of my heart will always be missing, I never thought there’d be a time that I could go out with my friends and laugh and have fun,” Crutchfield. “So I hope that this is also a message of hope because I know a lot of people that are just going through what I was going through nine years ago, and life does change and it does get better and you can survive this you can.”

So she’s asking for your help keeping her son’s memory alive by doing something nice for someone else.

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Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.