Family, friends remember Kaden Stepp

In 2015, there was a boy who wanted to help his community. He went to the extent of creating Kaden’s Blessing Bags, a bag full of hygiene products for families in need. 

He grew up to become Kaden Stepp, a person who continued to care for those around him, while also being rambunctious and unpredictable with his jokes and good nature he showered on his family and friends. 

On Nov. 3, 2022, Kaden Stepp passed away at the age of 16. While he may not be here physically, his memory and spirit are carried on by his family and friends. 

Everyone around Kaden has memories of the fun times they shared. 

Kaden enjoyed spending time with his grandma who also happens to have a lot of Chihuahuas.  One day Kaden decided to use the dogs and a baby pool to play a prank on his friend Alex Calhoun. 

“I spent the night at his grandma’s house and he dumped a pool of dogs on me,” Calhoun said laughing about the unexpected shower of puppy love.  

Kaden was an unpredictable person that wanted to have fun, but when he was with his older brother, Brandon Stepp, the unpredictability grew. 

“Me and Kaden were always rambunctious. We were always breaking stuff. We broke walls and roofs. We were on the roof messing with a frisbee and ended up staying up there,” Brandon said. “He was always my little shadow. He was always right behind me.”

From the very beginning, Brandon treasured having a brother. 

“I brought Kaden into school as my special thing. He was my special thing,” Brandon said. “I was made to be a big brother.” 

Kaden was not only special to Brandon, but to those around him. Kaden’s cousins, Lindsey Dovidio and Kaitlin Selogy, felt Kaden was a person they could always count on to be there for them. 

“He was the closest person I had in my family,” Selogy said. “Growing up he was always right there. My first day of high school he ran up beside me and put his arm around me and told me he was always going to be my guardian.”

Kaden was always there for those around him and there are often things that remind them of him. 

“He would always play fight with me to toughen me up,” Dovidio said. “My favorite night was the 4th of July. Every family party we would break off and talk about everything. We were looking at the stars and every time I look at them now, it makes me think of him.”

Along with the stars, the song, Fireflies by Owl City makes his family think of him whenever they hear it. Fireflies are about the fantasies that go through someone’s head as they are trying to fall asleep. 

“The Fireflies song fit Kaden. He was always into something and happy,” Kaden’s mother April Stepp said. 

Kaden’s friends and family knew they had him backing them up whenever they needed him. 

“You will never meet anyone like him. He would protect you with his life,” Kaden’s friend Kyla Cronberg said. 

During Kaden’s Club Scout years, he reached out to those beyond who he knew and created Kaden’s Blessing Bags. 

“It was Club Scouts and they were learning about communities. They talked about low-income families and he later came home and told me it hurt his heart knowing some people don’t have stuff,” April said. “He scoured $22 worth of change to make four blessing bags. Then they started to petition and it went through Plain and passed out thousands of bags.”

Kaden was able to impact many people throughout his life. He even received character and champion awards, the Youth in Philanthropy award and a Mayor’s Proclamation from the City of Canton. 

Kaden also had a lasting impact on his second-grade teacher, Natalie Matthews. 

“He was a sweet little boy with a sweet and constant smile,” Matthews said. “I remember that he and his mom made what they called “blessing bags,” in which they collected hygiene items for the homeless.”

Kaden touched each person in his life and left them all with something to remember. 

“His humor. He always had a good sense of humor and knew how to make people laugh,” Kaden’s friend Madison Raucci said. 

During Kaden’s life, he enjoyed spending time playing football, wrestling, hunting and fishing. His family will always remember his contagious smile and beautiful baby blue eyes and his ability to always make a person smile no matter the type of mood they were in. 

Kaden will be missed by those around him. He is survived by his mother, April Geis; father, Anthony Stepp (Deanne Hawkins); brothers: Brandon Stepp (Kelsy Yoho), Ryan Stepp, Kenny French; step-brother, Spencer Hawkins; sister, April Rae Stepp; step-sister, Averi Hawkins; nephew, Alaric Stepp; great grandmother, Shirley Risden; grandparents, Sharon and Aaron Geis, Denzil McCauley; many aunts, uncles, cousins; and best friend, Dakota Matea.

Kaden’s family and friends plan to honor Kaden by organizing a sock drive for his birthday, July 29th. They will be taking donations if anyone is compelled to not only honor Kaden, but to do what he would have done.