By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Crystal family is keeping the memory of their son alive by helping those most in need.

Last year, 18-year-old Kody Thorn died from a drug overdose. His friends and family remember him as a gentle giant who was always there for friends and family.

And it was his willingness to help others that inspired his family to give back in a way he always has. 

“We didn’t know how we were going to do it, we were just going to do it,” said Colleen Thorn, Kody’s mom.

Most recently, the Thorns put a closet in a classroom at Northport Elementary in Brooklyn Center. But instead of filling it with books and school supplies, they filled it with “things you take for granted,” things like shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste.

“We just felt like he was taken too soon and that in life he was going to do something great. And so that’s what we are trying to do by doing Kody’s Closet,” Colleen Thorn said.

Kody’s mom never met a coupon she didn’t like. She’s always stocked up on things like deodorant, toothaste, and shampoo: things that some of Kody’s friends couldn’t always get at home.

“Kody had some friends around, and they had some needs,” Colleen Thorn said. “And Kody would say, ‘Just go raid my mom’s closet.’ And I would know of course. They would just start loading up, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they really want this stuff?’ And they kept coming back.”

Soon after Kody died, his family got an idea: to put a Kody’s Closet in schools across the Twin Cities.

“Every time we do it, it’s kind of like we are with him,” said Shane Thorn, Kody’s dad.

They began at Armstrong High School in March, where Kody graduated in 2012. Each closet is painted in Kody’s favorite color, and has a bear paw print in honor of his nickname “Kody-ack.”

The donations inside come from generous people who understand what it means to the Thorns and the schools they serve. Northport Elementary was Thorns’ tenth school.

“That [students in need] don’t have to worry about having their own toothbrush or soap or things of that nature really helps them be able to feel better about themselves,” said Tiffany Shaw, a school social worker.

With a waiting list that now includes 14 schools, the Thorns say can always use more supplies. The little things that Kody knew made a big impression.

“He really didn’t have a chance to make a mark on this world, so this is kind of our way of doing that for him,” said said Shane Thorn.

If you would like to make a donation to Kody’s Closet, click here.


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