Five years ago, Antonio Jordan had an idea: He and a few buddies in his fledgling car club would celebrate Thanksgiving by driving around in their lowriders and passing out plates of turkey to the homeless.
The idea grew from there, and last weekend dozens of Family First car club members passed out food to the needy. This year, they did it in honor of the original organizer.
In February, the 41-year-old Jordan was shot to death in the driveway of his Florin-area home. His case remains unsolved.
Heading into the holiday season, relatives said they are struggling with despair, anger and even their own health as they try to navigate lives without him.
They described the victim as a big man nicknamed "Oso," or "bear" in Spanish with an even bigger spirit; a man who gave what he could to family and strangers alike.
"He had a kind heart. He wasn't phony; he treated everybody right," said his older sister Maryann Rodriguez, 44. "I believe God has the right place for him."
Born and raised in Sacramento, Jordan attended McClatchy High School, where he played baseball, basketball and football, according to his family.
His loved ones remember a sweet boy who enjoyed sports, playing with his cousins and figuring out how things worked, from radios to bicycles. Always one to share what he could, he gave pickles a snack food his struggling single mother could afford to the other hungry children in the projects he grew up in, his sister said.
As an adult, Jordan ran afoul of the law and ultimately went to prison for making threats an incident his sister said amounted to a domestic dispute.
But his family said he left that life behind him long ago, and even tried to counsel wayward relatives, taking them in and offering help in finding a job. He worked hard himself, and most recently was a supervisor at a local plumbing outfit.
He loved to dance, his family said, and had a passion for cars and the Family First car club. He also loved children, they said, and helped raise his 3-year-old grandson Dominic.
Earlier this year, Sacramento County homicide detectives said they couldn't find anything in his recent past to explain the shooting or finger a suspect. They are asking that anyone with information about the crime come forward.
Jordan's mother, Hope Ortega, said her son moved in with her to help out after she suffered a series of losses in her life and needed some physical and emotional support.
Even after moving out a few years ago, he remained dedicated, his mother said, often picking her up from her janitorial job and driving her home.
The night of his death, he had been visiting with her. Detectives found food she had sent home with him in his truck.
"He was the rock of the family," said Ortega, 60. "He tried to help all of us."
Rodriguez said she admires the strength her mother has shown since Jordan's death. But when they go to weekly counseling together, she sees the toll, as her mother tells how she can "hardly breathe" even as life goes on around her.
Ortega said she suffers from anxiety and depression: "I go to bed taking a pill; I get up taking a pill."
The loss has also had an impact on his grandson, who lived with Jordan. Ortega said that before bed every night, the boy whispers, "Good night, Grandpa." His family wonders if he sees the man's spirit.
"If what they say is true that they never leave he's not going to leave that little boy," Rodriguez said.
For her part, Rodriguez has tried to cope by spreading the word about her brother's case. She's made posters and distributed them in neighborhoods her brother frequented, all the way to Fresno. Once a month, she puts an ad in the PennySaver, and this summer she held fundraisers to bolster a reward fund.
Rodriguez said she has raised $2,000 for a reward, but is frustrated that her brother's case is not yet featured on the website for Crime Alert, a nonprofit that publicizes unsolved cases and takes tips. She blames inaction by the Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos said detectives are working with Crime Alert to address the issue. In the meantime, tipsters still can contact the organization with information.
"Detectives remain resolute and committed to working on this case and bringing the person or persons responsible to justice," Ramos said.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Department at (916) 874-5115 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Callers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a reward.