Over 150 members of the 19 TCHS senior classes since then have received $500 college scholarships in memory of those seven, thanks to the efforts of the parents who created the Seven Friends fund.
Saturday, Boots Randolph Golf Course will host a tournament to benefit the Seven Friends Scholarship.
Todd King, a Cadiz city councilman and owner of King’s Funeral Home, offered to organize a golf tournament in honor of Seven Friends, and the response has been outstanding, said Stephanie Perry, Patric’s mother.
“Todd said he’d talked to a lot of people, and they’ve told us the same thing, that this scholarship is extremely important to the kids, even though they have no clue who these boys were,” Perry said. “It’s amazing to me. You wonder if it’s a connection because our kids were just like them or because it was such a tragedy. It just doesn’t happen in towns like Cadiz where seven boys are killed all at the same time. The kids are very grateful, and I think kids don’t always get enough credit for that.”
The fund still accepts private donations, but the hope is that the golf tournament will become an annual event that helps continue the scholarship.
The fund was initially set up as a way to help those in need as well, like helping provide for a child who lost their home to a fire. Perry said the hope is to continue to use the fund for those causes, as well.
“As long as we can help somebody, that’s what it’s about,” Perry said. “We have that tender spot for children and hate to see them suffer.”
The bottom line for the Seven Friends parents is that the fund is a way for them to give back to a community that gave them so much during a very difficult time.
“There is no way, without the love and support of the people of this community ... that’s what helped us get through everything,” Perry said.
Perry said she’s heard from several people who plan to play in the tournament but have never played golf before.
“Don’t let that keep you from coming out,” Perry said, adding she hopes to see a big crowd on Saturday.
Those interested in more information on the tournament should contact Todd King at 350-0542 or 522-7172.
My interview with Stephanie for this column gave me the opportunity to do something I don’t think I had ever done verbally – show appreciation for the Seven Friends scholarship I received in 1998.
As an 18-year-old kid not even five years removed from the accident that claimed the lives of those seven boys, I’m not sure the gravity of the situation really affected me at the time. I imagine I wrote a Thank You card or note, but I didn’t put too much thought into what being a recipient of that scholarship really meant.
In the end, it helped make my immediate college choice an easier one, and given that the rest of my college education went so well and prepared me for my professional career, I should probably add the Seven Friends parents to the long list of folks responsible for me being where I am today.
I’m sure they’d all rather have their boys back, and who could blame them? But what they’ve done in their memory is noble and deserves the continued support of the community.
Justin McGill is the general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.