MADISON COUNTY, Ind. — A Madison County man is turning around his grief to honor his sons. He lost them both in less than a year.
Kevin Oliver is healing through helping others.
“It’s shattering, it’s life-changing. It was hard to even go to work,” Oliver said.
“I remember when it happened, I literally about passed out just from knowing what happened.”
While he knows nothing is going to bring his sons back, he started two different organizations to pay it forward in their memories–something he hopes would make them proud.
In January of 2021, Oliver’s 17-year-old son Andon was murdered in an act of gun violence.
Something he, unfortunately, was no stranger to.
“I lost my mom to gun violence when I was in the first grade, so I just always had that feeling of emptiness,” said Oliver.
To help him grieve, he started Andon’s Blessings. It’s a social media network for people to help fill the need where others fall short.
“When I started Andon’s Blessings, it made it to where I could get up in the morning, to read what people are saying, to read what people are giving away,” said Oliver.
They don’t take money, but people can post if they are in need of things like food, clothing or other essentials.
“It’s been amazing to see the outpouring from Madison County on what they’ve done to help my son and to help me get over, well not get over but to deal with some of the frustrations that I had in the beginning that I had on the murder itself,” he said.
Right before the anniversary of his son Andon’s death, tragedy struck again.
“I lost my son Kevin Jo Oliver, so we started another group for him.”
In December 2021, his oldest son Kevin lost his battle with drug addiction. Oliver started a new organization.
“He deserves to have something that’s for him. And Kevin’s Comfort Corner, that’s exactly what that is. It’s for my boy.”
It’s a place for people who lost a loved one to network and share memories. And they give them blankets for either suicide, gun violence or drug addiction depending on how they died.
“It’s getting me to the next day. You read some of the stories on Kevin’s Comfort Corner, it’ll bring tears to your eyes. There’s so many people on there that’s actually opening up.”
One of those people is Stacey Richardson.
“He called me and asked me if I would head this up for him, and having lost my son, it gave me a reason to want to help others and I thought this was a great idea,” said Richardson.
Richardson lost her son, Michael Achenbach, to suicide in March 2020.
“Now, having this, I wasn’t quite to where I was ‘living again,’ but now I feel like I have a purpose. And I feel like I’m doing something to honor Michael as well as Kevin’s wish for the group.”
She says she feels like she is honoring her son Michael and her grandson. Michael’s girlfriend was pregnant when he died.
Stacey is one of 11 people who make the blankets. They are looking for more who can crochet.
If that’s you, click here for more information.