Zionsville’s Justin Langford was tragically killed in an accident in May of 2014. The 23-year-old Vanderbilt University graduate and 2009 graduate of Zionsville High School was involved in soccer, choir, the robotics team and more.
He had already purchased an engagement ring for long-time girlfriend Kelsi and was working as a calibration engineer for Allison Transmission when he lost his life.
Langford loved running and exercise, he was an organ donor, brought peace and encouragement to all he came in contact with and was a strong proponent of education, specifically in the areas of science and technology.
He’s even received a post-humus patent for a project he was working on a year before he passed, for engineering designs on hybrid vehicle systems and energy management.
Bryan and Janice Langford, along with Justin’s younger brother Kyle, have set out, not only to remember and honor Justin for the person he was, but to bring hope and encouragement to as many as they can.
They decided on the acronym H.O.P.E. — heath, organ donation, peace and education — as the all-encompassing goal to spread to others.
The Justin Langford Memorial Run 4 Hope will begin at 9 a.m. May 19 at New Hope Christian Church, 5780 S. Main St., Whitestown.
Registrants can run/walk a four-mile trail or a one-mile trail and young ones have the opportunity to join in the quarter-mile kid dash.
There will be activities for young and old, including a career fair area in which interested students and adults can talk further about studying in the STEM field, volunteer opportunities through the Humane Society, mentor programming and others, as well as inflatables and games for children.
The idea, the Langfords said, is to engage the community.
“All things go back to HOPE. We want to inspire people. Each of us has the capacity to give hope to others if we just keep our eyes open,” Bryan said.
Langford was the first of his family to be an organ donor. He donated his heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, corneas, tissue and bone. Now the entire family has signed up to be organ donors and Bryan and Janice have had the opportunity to meet some of the recipients who benefited from Justin’s donation.
“Seeing the life from organ donation … Alex was 4 years old when I met him and he was so full of life. We met the heart recipient and heard Justin’s heart. The recipient is in his early 50s and when you see a picture of him at prom with his daughter and playing soccer with his son … organ donation gives people another day to be with their dad, their mother, their son,” Bryan said.
When hope seems lost, the Langfords hold on to their faith and then pay it forward to others.
“Our faith is our foundation,” Bryan said. “We know we’ll be together again. Each day is a gift and Justin, in every way, squeezed so much out of life. Whether he was reading volumes and volumes of books we have at home or if he was out with friends, encouraging others is what he was known for.
“That kid at school who has having a tough time and no one wanted to be their friend, he was; the jocks, he was; the brains, he was; the artist, he was. We see so many people marginalized in our society and every one of us has the opportunity to interact in our circles.”
Bryan and Janice said they believe, like Romans 8 says, “All things work together for good.” Although it’s hard to see right now, continue trusting in faith and even this tragedy will result in good things, is their mantra.
“If people don’t know Christ as their savior, it’s another day of grace. It’s another day to see grace in action and hopefully come to realization that there is a God and he loves them; to accept him. That’s ultimately what it boils down to. It can transform people,” Bryan said.