SWFL family keeps daughter's giving spirit alive by helping others

Posted at 7:18 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 19:24:19-04

FORT MYERS, FL. — A Southwest Florida family continues to honor their daughter, who tragically died in a car crash 4-years ago, and they're doing it by helping others, especially right now, as we rebound from this crisis.

"She was vibrant, she loved people, she had a great laugh, she made everybody smile," said Lorraine Gutheim, Jordan's mom.

20-year-old Jordan Gutheim had just finished her sophomore year at Florida State University and was weeks away from a summer internship in London when her life was cut short.

"Something people don't realize, when you lose a child, it doesn't get any easier. Some years can be harder than the first because the first year you're just in shock," said Greg Gutheim, Jordan's dad.

On May 12, 2016, Jordan and her boyfriend Benji were in their car waiting to make a turn, when a semi-truck struck them from behind and pushed them into oncoming traffic.

Both Jordan and Benji died on the scene.

Since then, year after year, Jordan's parents remember her by doing things she loved, including helping others.

"What we try to do during the week and on this day is honor our daughter," said Greg Gutheim.

Jordan's parents started a foundation in her name as a way to keep her caring spirit alive.

Each year the Jordan Ashley Gutheim Foundation donates to various non-profits in Southwest Florida and awards a college scholarship with the help of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

"We support the Cape Coral Animal shelter in her name and Valerie's House, just a number of organizations that we know she would have felt committed to," said Lorraine Gutheim.

But this year, they are also spreading "Jordan's blessings" to frontline heroes, something the family knows Jordan would have wanted.

"She cared so deeply for people. She had been on a number of mission trips, and whenever she of difficult circumstances, she was always the first to ask us what we could do to help," said Lorraine Gutheim.

On Tuesday, the Gutheims donated $1,800 worth of meals to Healthpark Medical Center staff.

The meals came from Jason's Deli, where Jordan used to work.

"For our teams to get this, it makes them feel appreciated, and we're just very grateful," said Kristi Cottrill, Director of Environmental Services at HealthPark Medical Center.

Jordan was born at HealthPark Medical Center, and on Tuesday, four years after Jordan's death, giving has gone full circle for this family.

"Not only do we want to show love for people, but we want to carry Jordan's memory because she's not able to," said Greg Gutheim.

This year the foundation is awarding over $56,000 to local non-profits, including Community Cooperative, to support the increased caused by covid-19.

Over the last four years, Jordan's foundation has pledged $271,160, of which $215,160 has been funded.

Jordan's blessings are presented annually every May.

To learn more, or to donate to the foundation, click here.