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“A Mission In The Madness”

Almost everyone has heard the saying “the longest journey begins with a single step”, well sometimes, you need to just start walking to determine where it is you are going to go.

Friday, August 3, 2018 our world changed forever. That is the day we heard the words “we are not sure what type it is, but we are pretty sure it is cancer”. 

cancer (we will never capitalize that word) is a word that nobody wants to hear. Especially, if it is directed toward your child. Learning that your child can or may die is maddening. There are more thoughts, feelings, and emotions than one can comprehend or convey.  Since that day the learning curve has been steep, and the lessons are real-world. One of the first things the oncology team mentioned to Rhea and I is that A LOT of all marriages fail when there is a death of a child. They STRESSED that we needed to find an outlet. We needed to decompress and find things to do daily as a couple and individuals to stay grounded and connected.

Rhea and I are determined not to be a part of that group. We needed to figure out how to deal with the potential loss of Presley. We never gave up hope for a miracle until Presley passed on November 1, 2019.  Presley was continuously looking for ways to help others and give back. We told her we will work to fulfill that desire in her name!!!  Presley’s Produce™ was born during the late nights at the hospital. Rhea, Presley, and I discussed possibilities. Presley expressed interest in growing a flower along with produce with her “sisters” Emily and Sarah.

Presley’s Produce™ started with a narrow focus and that was just to help families find their “Mission in the Madness” ™.  We wanted to aid families that have lost a child to create something, their “Mission in the Madness”, to honor their departed child and keep the memory alive while helping others.  We help navigate the world of creating their charity.  Initially, we planned on growing produce to sell and donate to fund our Mission. 

However, Charities evolve over time and so have we. We realized we can do more with the same process.  So, we decided to expand into areas that are synergistic or overlapping.  We are committed to give to others, teaching others, and supporting our communities while we honor the departed. 

Studies have shown that trying to live a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition starts with fresh produce and therefore we will promote a healthier lifestyle through providing the ability to grow your own fresh produce at home.  But what we experienced was that growing plants does so much more than just feed your body.  It can feed your mind as well.  Growing and gardening plants is a VERY mindful process that keeps one in the moment.   Taking something from seed to table is an incredible feeling. 

 Through the process of learning to grow we learned how cathartic it can be.  So, we at Presley’s Produce are in the process of getting Licensed in Horticultural Therapy.  The father of modern psychology Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, observed and documented the benefits HT in treating patients with mental illnesses.  He recognized a connection between people and plants.  So, what is Horticultural Therapy?


           “Horticultural therapy is a professionally conducted client-centered treatment modality that

utilizes horticulture activities to meet specific therapeutic or rehabilitative goals of its

participants. The focus is to maximize social, cognitive, physical and/or psychological

functioning and/or to enhance general health and wellness.”

– Haller and Kramer, Horticultural Therapy Methods: Making Connections in Health Care,

Human Service, and Community Programs. 2006.


I have personally experienced how calming, instructive, and self-fulfilling growing has been in my own grieving process.  I know it works!!!  If you garden then you do too!!!   Beyond the health benefits, which are numerous, it also involves science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) making it perfect for any classroom. We are working with doctor’s, therapists, social workers, schools, administrators, teachers, nutritionists, dietitians, and teachers to show them the benefit of plants in the school, classroom, treatment centers, veteran’s groups, and assisted living communities.   

I lost a younger brother and sister in a house fire when I was 10.  I saw how it impacted a family through a child’s eyes.  Now God has asked me to live through it as a father.   So, I have been given a unique perspective.  One that allows me to have a true understanding of the impact on the children and the parents.

My wife Rhea and I have a saying that we share with others that we meet that have experienced this type of loss: 

“We may not have the answers, but we do have the experience.” 

We would like to share all our experiences with anyone that wants to learn or needs help.  But just like all areas of life we can’t do it alone; we need your help as well.  So please give us a look. We hope you take an interest in our “Mission”.

We would love to hear ideas and synergies, click here to contact us or to donate!