There are stories you cover that always leave an impact on you as an editor or reporter. And as journalism has changed, or at least the way I “do” journalism has changed, over the past half decade or so, those stories get even closer to you than they used to.
One, for me, is the story of Luke Letellier.
For those of you new to the community, or who just aren’t in the know of such things, Luke battled cancer, with tremendous bravery, until his passing in early 2012. He taught us about life, music, cancer, resilience and the magic of the number 44.
And anyone will tell you the mark he left on this town was written in indelible ink. Like the tattoos on his friends’ bodies or artwork on some local vehicles, it’s never going to go away.
And, thank God for that.
The Letellier Family shared some of that magic in a poignant moment Wednesday, May 21 as it awarded the first of hopefully many Luke Letellier Memorial Scholarship to a host of kids who stood by Luke from the moment he was diagnosed to the day he earned his “wings” in February 2012.
“It was something we talked about. We used some of the funds left over from the many fundraisers the community had for Luke and for our family,” Jenny Letellier, his mother, told me. “We talked about making a donation to the STMA Hockey Association, or creating some sort of scholarship fund. He seemed more comfortable with the scholarship.”
Receiving $500 in scholarships were STMA High School students Felicia Mix, A.J. McLellan, Tommy Mavencamp, Nikki Barthel, Simon Mark, Joe Kilian, Keith Jorgensen, Kaija Backhaus and Nick Akkerman.
Jenny and her husband, Rob, took the time to recognize the group as the core of friends who surrounded Luke with love and comfort as he battled Stage IV Advanced Rhabdomyosarcoma for two years.
“We wish we could have given one to every senior,” Jenny said.