Kenny Pheasant is the owner of Distant Hugs in Traverse City. Distant Hugs are embroidered scarves that people can send to friends and loved ones who are too far away to give a hug to.
Pheasant was moved to start the business after the unexpected loss of his oldest daughter Pamelaba in Sept. 2012. In Pheasant's culture, out of respect for the deceased, they place the "ba" sound at the end of their name.
"I received a call from my oldest son that night, he told me that my daughter, my oldest daughter passed away that day, " said Pheasant.
But it was this father's loss that inspired a business and a movement.
"We're selling scarves with the words 'Distant Hugs' on them," said Pheasant. "We want people to feel our healing, this is a healing for us."
The idea for Distant Hugs scarves all started five years ago when he sent his daughter, Pamelaba, a scarf as a hug. At the time she and her three kids were living in Ontario, Canada and were too far away to embrace.
"No matter what culture you are, how old you are, a hug is a hug," said Pheasant.
Not long after he launched the Distant Hugs website, another tragedy struck. This time hitting the entire nation. On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six adults were gunned down and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"I'm watching the news here, crying, because I knew what those people were feeling and I decided we're going to send scarves to those families," said Pheasant.
That is just what Pheasant did. With scarves in hand he sent 26 Distant Hugs to the Sandy Hook victims' families.
"I want them to feel our hugs and I hope that they do, I hope they do feel them" said Pheasant.
Judy Ebelt was moved by Pheasant's story when he contacted her to embroider the scarves. Ebelt is the owner of Monogram Magic in Traverse City.
"This has really been a huge project for them as far as the healing process and I was deeply touched," said Ebelt.
Pheasant said he plans to start a charity fund in his daughter's name that will benefit single families and children of deceased parents. He said all proceeds from the scarves will go toward the charity.
"To some people they wear it as a fashion, whatever, you know, I've been wearing my scarf as a hug for awhile now," said Pheasant.
For more information about Distant Hugs or to purchase a Distant Hugs scarf visit the website HERE.