Tulip Valley CEO Creates Flower in Honor of Gun Victim’s Smile

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By Jill Brooke

Kudos to Tuliip Valley Farm CEO Andrew Miller who, as many do, is using flowers to convey resilience, memory and love. 

As he recounted, Ethan Chapin, a former flower worker who was a student at the University of Idaho, became yet another victim of random gun violence in November 2022. Once again, this senseless violence left “entire communities devastated and individuals searching for a way to help.”

As the company shared in a statement, “our dear friend and former team member Ethan Chapin and three other University of Idaho students lost their lives, leaving entire communities devastated and individuals searching for a way to help.

“Ethan was a beloved citizen of Conway and Mount Vernon, who like so many other local kids, worked in the fields that make Skagit Valley so spectacular. While working the 2021 Tulip Festival on Andrew’s crew Ethan set the bar for showing up with a smile and making everyone else happy to be on the job, regardless of the weather or the work.

As a strong kid with a big heart, Ethan was the kind of guy who would do the hardest jobs and never complain. Usually, with a smile on his face.

After Ethan’s death, his friends and family reached out to Andrew to see if there was something they could do to memorialize Ethan’s beautiful life.

“We couldn’t name a tulip after Ethan because that’s actually really bureaucratic and involves a lot of international organizations,” Andrew said. “But what we came up with is even better, I think.”

What they came up with is the “Ethan’s Smile” tulip bulb mix in his honor. This mix of yellow and white tulips has already been planted in several areas around Skagit Valley, meaningful to Ethan and his family, as well as the University of Idaho.

The Ethan’s Smile mix will be available for purchase later this year with all profits going to the Ethan Chapin family and to build community gardens in memoriam.

“Tulips are iconic for Skagit Valley and a smile is iconic for Ethan,” Andrew said, adding “I will remember Ethan standing in the tulip fields with a big smile surrounded by people that know and love him.”

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and contributor to Florists Review magazine.