BELLINGHAM — A tulip farm in Skagit Valley is honoring the life and memory of former team member Ethan Chapin, one of four University of Idaho students stabbed to death in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13.
Tulip Valley Farms created a special tulip bulb mix called Ethan’s Smile that will be available for purchase and viewing when the annual blooming begins in April.
“This a symbol that is bringing some light and joy in an otherwise very difficult time,” said Tulip Valley Farms CEO Andrew Miller in an interview with The Bellingham Herald.
Miller described Chapin as a team player and someone who never complained because he was “too busy smiling” when he worked on the farm.
“He was easy like a Sunday morning — always gliding around,” Miller said. “Ethan’s smile was one of the things that was iconic about him.”
Reese Gardner, a former co-worker of Chapin at the tulip farm, came up with the idea to honor Chapin through tulips. The tulip bulb mix is yellow and white, colors Miller said are important because they represent joy and eternity. They are also two of the primary colors for the University of Idaho and the Conway School in Mount Vernon, where Chapin attended.
The farm will also be selling Ethan’s Smile stickers and apparel. All of the proceeds will go to Chapin’s family and to building community gardens in his memory.
Chapin’s parents, Jim and Stacy, are volunteering to help sell Ethan’s Smile bouquets and apparel at the farm during the tulip festival.
“Over the last few months, we’ve heard from people worldwide. For many, the tulips represent a form of healing and we also believe it helps people heal when they see us,” Stacy Chapin said in a statement to The Herald.
“These tulips are a tangible item to keep year after year in our gardens and think of Ethan,” Stacy Chapin said.
The University of Idaho Alumni Association will also be hosting a Vandal Sunset Picnic and Night Bloom sponsored by Tulip Valley Farms on April 9 as an opportunity for university alumni in Western Washington to come together to honor Ethan.
The other victims in the killings were University of Idaho students Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum and Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls.
A 28-year-old graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman is charged with their deaths.