2018 JEFFERSON AWARDS: Nominee Spreads “Jordan’s Joy” to QCA Children

We all remember Jordan Schmidt. He was known around our area and even across the country.

"I think he touched the lives of everyone he met," said Michelle McMullen, Jordan's Mom.

She said Jordan was always joyful, even after he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer at the age of 14.

"I remember we would go for treatments and he`d go - that`s alright, you know that`s just part of the deal, it`s okay, are you going to be okay Mom, are you going to make it through it okay," she explained.

It was that positive attitude that Michelle said helped her get through Jordan's passing in 2013.

"As tragic as some of these things can be, you have to focus on the positive and it hurts and it's a horrible awful thing, but out of all that tragedy and all that sadness we're still spreading joy," she said.

That's exactly how and why Jordan's Joy was created. The foundation raises money for area children who need it the most and in more ways than just one.

"It's not always about the financial support for the families necessarily - although we do do that - but it's creating that joy and spreading Jordan's Joy to them and giving them memories and something to look forward to and something to look back on," Michelle described.

Jordan's Joy did just that in 2016, surprising Noah Holton - who has Cerebral Palsy - with his very own video game shopping spree.

"He was just overjoyed when he got there and he had no clue where he was going," said Julia Holton, Noah's Grandmother. "He thought he was going to do the doctor!"

Julia said Jordan's Joy goes above and beyond other organizations. They provide children with what they need - Noah received a check for $2,750 on that day to put a wheelchair ramp on his house - but they also create a once-in-a-lifetime experience they deserve.

"Just the look on his face - that was very special," recalled Julia. "I mean, the wheelchair ramp is very special for him too, but that was very special for him knowing that was personally for him."

"That smile and his squeal of excitement - it almost felt a little selfish, because it felt so, it made us feel so good," added Michelle.

100% of donations to Jordan's Joy goes to families like Noah's. Michelle said that's made possible by her employer, Mutual Med, which underwrites all expenses. Jordan's Joy was also founded with the help of the CEO of Mutual Med, Todd Vershaw, and his wife Sharon.

"It takes a village," Michelle explained. "It really really does."

However, it could not have happened without Jordan and his mother, who was inspired by his joy.

"She really goes above and beyond to keep him memory alive and he definitely is - his memory is still alive and
I believe he`s in heaven looking down to her and saying - good job Mom," said Julia.

In remembrance of Jordan, we recognized Michelle McMullen and Jordan's Joy as a 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominee.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation celebrates public service and the people in our communities who are changing lives. Every Wednesday in January and February, WQAD News 8 is introducing you to our 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominees. In March, we will announce our area's Finalist. That person gets to attend the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer and meet other Finalists from across the country.

To see who was nominated in our previous three seasons of the Jefferson Awards, click here.