Overcoming tragedy: Student who lost mother in crash gifted school supplies

Acts of Kindness: High School student overcomes tragedy

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - In just 17 years of life, Justin Henderson Jr. has experienced joy and tragedy.

“I have my tough days, but I always try to have a smile on my face," said Henderson. "If I can’t bring joy to others, how can I expect to bring joy to myself?”

It has been almost two years since his mother, Cindy Lapierre, was killed in a crash on an icy day in King William County. Henderson was in his mother’s truck, along with his four sisters, when they hit a patch of black ice, flipped over and hit a tree.

“We handmade a cross with my mother’s name on it, with ‘rest in peace.’ We planted rose bushes and we go back as much as we can," said Henderson.

Henderson attempted to shield his sisters in the truck and suffered broken bones. At times, he is still amazed that he survived the crash.

As he continues to honor his mom, Henderson has continued to look forward, thinking of the ways to succeed and make her proud.

“After high school, my really big goal in mind is to join the military and serve my country,” he said.

The last year and a half have been tough for Henderson, emotionally and financially, making it hard to get everything needed to start a new school year. His aunts reached out to NBC12 to help him get the back to school essentials he needs to begin another year at Highland Springs High School.

After learning about Henderson, the VCU Alumni Association wanted to help get him school supplies, gifting him with a backpack through the Ultimate Backpack Program.

Through NBC12′s Acts of Kindness Award, Justin was also given $300 to help with his back to school shopping for clothes, as well as other school fees.

“Unfortunately yes, my mom did miss my first homecoming dance, she wasn’t able to be there or take me, but I know she is always watching," said Henderson.

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