On April 6-7, 2018, Lutzie 43 hosted its inaugural Auburn Weekend. The weekend consisted of a flag football game, powderpuff football game, 5k race and field day for special needs students. All of our events took place on Auburn University’s campus on A-Day weekend, so we were able to celebrate with current and former students, as well as all of the Auburn fans in town! Lutzie 43 Foundation board member Bo Jackson also joined to support the event as a coach for the flag football events.
Our first Lutzie 43 Auburn Weekend meant a lot to the foundation, as it was special for Philip’s family and the Lutzie 43 Foundation as a whole to celebrate the legacy Philip left on this special campus.
Lutzie 43 is very grateful to have partnered with two on-campus groups to facilitate the weekend’s events. For the second year in a row, Auburn’s ATO fraternity ran the ATO Lutzie 43 Powderpuff Football Tournament for women’s groups. ATO also added an ATO Lutzie 43 Flag Football Tournament for men’s groups. The men’s Flag Football Tournament sold out after reaching maximum capacity!
Lutzie 43 also partnered with Auburn’s Tri Delta sorority to host the first-ever Tri Delta Lutzie 5k on April 7. Over 200 runners participated in the event, which took them on a 3.1-mile route through Auburn’s campus.
All the proceeds raised from Auburn Weekend were given back to Auburn University through The Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award. This award is given out annually through a scholarship in the School of Communication and Journalism.
We are so thankful for all who came out this weekend to support #Lutzie43 and celebrate Philip’s life! We hope to return back next year for another Auburn weekend.PERMALINK
Thanks to Nathan Sell for providing this blog post!
Alpha Tau Omega is extremely excited to be hosting the 2nd Annual ATO Powder Puff Tournament, and the 1st Annual ATO Flag Football Tournament on April 6th and 7th!
My name is Nathan Sell, and I am currently a Senior at Auburn University and a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. This year, I have had the privilege of serving both my fraternity and the Lutzie43 Foundation, as the director of this year’s event! Last year, our chapter president at the time, Reagan Drake, had the idea of creating a powder puff football tournament that would benefit the Lutzie43 Foundation. After several months of tedious planning and preparation, we were able to put on an extremely successful event. The event, last year, was able to raise over $5,000 which contributed to the Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award.
Although the event was a huge success last year, we realized that there was even greater potential. In planning this year’s event, we really wanted to incorporate values of the Lutzie43 Foundation. To us, this event is more than just a group of college students coming together to support a cause. We believe it is about the Auburn Family—students, alumni, and city residents alike—coming together to promote core values that we all believe in. Instilling principles of leadership, responsibility, and excellence in the upcoming generation is a common goal that we all share. This year, we are proud to say that our event will include a high school tournament featuring participants from Auburn City Schools. This aspect of our event will enable us to begin forming mentor-like relationships with Auburn City Students that will hopefully continue as some of them join the Auburn University student body one day.
The ATO Powder Puff and Flag Football Tournament will take place on April 6th and 7th. On April 6th, the main event will take place at the Auburn Indoor Practice Facility at 2:30 pm. The championship games will be held in Jordan-Hare Stadium on April 7th, prior to the A-Day game. Teams consist of 7-12 players and cost $50/team to register. Something extremely unique about our event this year is that Bo Jackson will be coaching the top fundraising team!
ATO is also very excited to be a part of the Lutzie43 Auburn weekend this year which also features an Adaptive P.E. Field Day for children with disabilities and the Tri Delta Lutzie 5K! Be sure to check out all of these awesome events taking place during the A-Day weekend, April 6th and 7th!
To register, please visit https://give.classy.org/ATO-Lutzie43-Powderpuff for the women’s powder puff or https://give.classy.org/ATOLutzie437on7 for the men's 7on7. We hope that you will join us on April 6th and 7th as we look to continue making an impact on student lives, and honoring the legacy of Philip Lutzenkirchen!
Tri Delta is so excited about the great opportunity to support Lutzie 43 and Auburn Weekend by helping to facilitate the Tri Delta Lutzie 5k!
My name is Alexis Goldhagen and I am a current member of the Phi Theta Chapter of Tri Delta. I am serving as the current Lutzie 43 Chairman. Last year, Tri Delta got involved with the Lutzie 43 Foundation by participating in the ATO Powderpuff Football Tournament. We not only won the tournament but also won the fundraising competition. We like to claim we did a “full sweep”! We are a very athletic sorority and were pumped to play flag football, but we soon realized it was more than a football tournament. It is about an incredible organization focused on educating young people on positive character attributes. The values represented by the Lutzie 43 Foundation—leadership, charity, compassion, mentorship, honesty, and faith—are closely aligned with the values of Tri Delta. Naturally, I, along with Tri Delta, fell in love with this organization and were eager to work alongside them in the planning of the Tri Delta Lutzie 5k.
The first-ever Tri Delta Lutzie 5k presented by the Standard at Auburn is just one of three events the Lutzie 43 Foundation is hosting the weekend of April 6-7. The 5k starts at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 7 and is pet-friendly. It will start and finish at the Auburn University Intramural fields (behind the gymnastics complex and softball fields), and will take you on a 3.1-mile tour of Auburn University’s breath-taking campus. The timed race is $20 for students and $43 for non-students. This price includes a comfort color t-shirt. Registration is now open and you can register online at https://give.classy.org/TriDeltaLutzie5k. Packet pick-up will be held Friday, April 6th at the Auburn University Indoor Football Practice Facility (ATO Football Tournament location) starting at 4:00 pm and ending at 7:00 pm. You can also pick up your packet and register the day of the race starting at 6:30 a.m. at the Intramural Fields. If you are unable to run the race but wish to donate to this remarkable organization, that can also be done using the link above.
There is no better way to get in the Auburn Football spirit and start off A-Day than to run the Tri Delta Lutzie 5k. Come out and help us celebrate the legacy of former Auburn Football player Philip Lutzenkirchen and the impact he had on Auburn University, as well as the impact the University had on him. I hope to see you there!
My name is Brittany Spillman and I am a teacher at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn, Alabama. I've always been an Auburn fan and I enjoyed watching Philip play for the Tigers. Though I did not know him personally, I felt that he embodied everything it meant to be an Auburn man. I, like many others, was heartbroken when I heard of his passing. I prayed alcohol wasn't involved because I thought it might tarnish everything he stood for and that was all he would be remembered for, not for his integrity, respect and character that he demonstrated on and off the field. When I heard Mr. Lutzenkirchen started the Lutzie 43 Foundation, I quickly followed them on social media.
As a teacher, I am always looking for a way to prepare my students for the world outside our school walls. I strive to educate the whole student, mind, body and soul. I began seeing posts from the Lutzie 43 Foundation about a character development curriculum for coaches and schools. I did not hesitate to order a book as soon as it was available and tried to figure out a way to incorporate it into my curriculum. During the 2016-2017 school year, I was asked to teach an ACT Prep class for juniors. I was given this wonderful opportunity to teach a grade and subject that I do not normally teach and thought this would be a wonderful way to break up our ACT Prep lessons.
On Wednesdays, which became known as Lutzie Wednesday's, we would read three to four lessons during our fifty-minute period. We read the lessons together, discussed how it related to their lives, watched videos on YouTube about Philip or the author of the story, and they completed the player application. Since I teach at Lee-Scott Academy, a private, Christian, college preparatory school, I could take full advantage of the Bible verses at the end of the lessons. I believe they really add to the lessons and tie everything together.
When we finished the curriculum, I invited my students to apply for the PFL Character Scholarship. I had many students apply and one was chosen to receive the $4,300 scholarship, KK Dubberley. I was invited to attend the scholarship dinner with KK and our headmaster, Stan Cox, at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama. When KK gave her speech, there was not a dry eye in the room. The Lutzenkirchen's have embraced KK and made her feel like family.
I believe in the curriculum and I think it is exactly what high school students need to hear as they begin to head off to college. As a result, and with the support of my administrators, I created a new class for the 2017-2018 school year based on the curriculum. The “My Character Counts” class consists of 11 seniors. We study the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum, do a book study of The Purpose Driven Life, have a mentoring program for our elementary students and take part in community service projects. I chose to supplement the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum with these things because I feel like they all tie back to the curriculum and the words and actions that Philip embodied.
In February of 2018, Mike Lutzenkirchen was our speaker for Spiritual Emphasis week. After he spoke to our high school students about Philip's Legacy…What Legacy Are You Leaving?, he came back to my room and spent forty-five minutes speaking to the seniors in my Character Counts class that just finished the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum. The Lutzie 43 Foundation has made it their mission to spread Philip's legacy and encourage students to be great friends instead of good friends. They have greatly made an impact on the students at Lee-Scott Academy.
In November of 2016, we opened our first scholarship to the public; The PFL Character Scholarship. To the outside, this means “Prepared for Life,” but to family and those who were close to Philip, it means “Philip Francis Lutzenkirchen.”
The scholarship was put together to equip young people with another tool needed to leave a legacy, in order to further our mission to develop the character of young people through education and real-world application. This all is tied together with our 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum, which students must go through before they are eligible to receive a scholarship. Every applicant must choose three lessons from the curriculum that were meaningful to them, as well as provide a small description of how the curriculum has had an impact on their lives.
We believe that one of the most important tools to leaving a legacy is education. Last year, we awarded five $4,300 scholarships to those who we believed used what they learned from the curriculum to better themselves and their legacy. One of our recipients; Kerilyn Dubberly used the curriculum to change her mind set on the challenges she has had in her life from “Why is God doing this to me?” to “How is God working in me and through me?” This personal change is what the scholarship, curriculum and foundation are all about. We are here to help young people, like Kerilyn, grow and mature through life in such a way that builds a legacy. This scholarship is just another way we are working to help young people Live like Lutz, Love Like Lutz, and Lean from Lutz.
Scholarship applications for this year are open through April 15. If you or someone you know has gone through the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum, apply today! Visit our scholarship page to learn more!PERMALINK
Thanks to Armando Martin for providing this blog post!
My name is Armando Martin, and I am the new Intern for the Lutzie 43 Foundation. I am currently studying Business Finance at The Ohio State University and will be graduating in December 2019. I am involved in Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, and I am currently the Head of Community Outreach. I have been involved with the Foundation since last summer and have loved every second of it.
I first heard of the foundation in high school when Mr. Lutzenkirchen gave a speech about how our decisions today will impact our decisions in the future. The speech was powerful, and even today I make sure that I’m not just a good friend but a great friend.
Armando (left) and a friend at the annual Lutzie 43 Road Race in Marietta, GA.
I ran into Mr. Lutzenkirchen again as a freshman at The Ohio State University when he came and gave his speech, 'Philip’s Legacy…What Legacy Are You Leaving?' Unlike the first time, I made sure to introduce myself before-hand and reach out to him afterward. This led to us getting in touch over the summer and having the opportunity to help with the annual 5k. From then on Mr. Lutzenkirchen and I have kept in contact, and I was offered an internship. I am very happy that I get to work as an intern with projects and assignments that have real results on changing people’s lives!
Being part of this Foundation means so much to me. It has been a wonderful experience serving as an integral part of a program that is out to change lives, and I am learning so much. Being able to work alongside Mr. Lutzenkirchen and seeing everything come together during the annual Lutzie 43 5k last year was priceless. The ability to bring people together with a common goal to better the lives of people everywhere is why this Foundation is so meaningful to me.
This year I hope to help the Foundation expand by reaching out to people about all that the Foundation has to offer in its hope to help student-athletes learn and grow from Philip’s story.PERMALINK
For the second year in a row, the Lutzie 43 Foundation was asked to speak to some of the nation’s top high school football players at the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game in Orlando, FL.
Mike shared a version of the “Philip’s Legacy…What Legacy Are You Leaving?” talk with the players, encouraging them to be great friends and teammates. He congratulated them on their achievements, reminding them that thousands of players wish they could be in their shoes.
Above all, Mike encouraged them not to waste the opportunity and the platform they’ve been given. He told them, “ If you’re so good that they can’t ignore you....that’s all it’s gonna be. And I fear you could find yourself in a situation like my son. I want you to be so great that you can be counted on.”
Mike encouraged the players to be available. Available, a word used in the 43 Lessons to Legacy character-development curriculum, means being obtainable, accessible or at one's disposal. Philip was available to anyone who needed him, whenever they needed him.
Mike shared the story of Philip and Bailey Moody, the young girl he befriended after she found out she had cancer. Philip spent hours driving to see and visit with Bailey and her family, even though he had plenty of other commitments as a college student and athlete.
Using Philip’s example, Mike was able to paint a picture of what it looks like to use an athletic platform to touch—and change—people’s lives. Many of the players approached Mike after the talk to grab copies of the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum, bracelets and to tell Mike of the impact his message had on them.
The following day at the All-America Game, many of the players could be spotted wearing their “43” bracelets, inscribed with the phrase, “I know God’s working so I smile.”
The Lutzie 43 Foundation is grateful to Under Armour for their continual support and partnership. Through their support, the Foundation is able to reach young athletes with Philip’s story and the life-changing message we have to tell.
Today, we did it: We hit our Year End 43 Day fundraising goal of $43,000.
When we say “we,” we’re referring to you, the supporters of the Lutzie 43 Foundation. Everyone – no matter whether you contributed financially, via prayer or through encouragement – played an integral part in us reaching this goal.
We cannot understate how appreciative or thankful we are for your contributions. We know that making a donation is not as simple as writing a check, it is a conscious decision to sacrifice one thing for another. We thank you for making the choice to support us and the important work we are doing.
Because of you, we are able to make sure that Philip's life continues to impact people today.
So, what’s next? Your donations directly support our initiatives. In 2018, we are expanding upon our 2017 initiatives. We plan to offer more PFL (Prepared for Life) Scholarships, allow more special needs students to attend joy proms and adaptive PE field days, and provide more 43 Lessons to Legacy character-based curriculums to students and their mentors.
We’re also hosting the first-ever Auburn Weekend, which includes a 2nd “onsite” Lutzie 43 Road Race, as well as a Flag Football tournament and a Powderpuff tournament for Auburn fraternities and sororities, which all takes place on Auburn’s campus. We will also be partnering with multiple organizations to host our initial Alabama-based Adaptive PE field day in Auburn with help from Auburn University students.
We will continue with our annual Lutzie 43 Golf Invitational and our Lutzie 43 Road Race in Marietta and virtually. We will continue to support the Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award & Scholarship Program conducted each fall and spring through Auburn University’s School of Communication and Journalism.
Mike will continue speaking at schools, corporations and faith-based organizations across the country, giving our Philip’s Legacy…what legacy are you leaving? talk and telling schools and teams about our curriculum and scholarship. In January, he is speaking at the 2018 Under Armour All-America game in Orlando, FL to the nation’s top football prospects.
All of this to say, thank you for helping us make these initiatives possible. We could not have met this goal without you. Thank you also to everyone who left a note about Philip and how the Foundation has impacted you since its inception the fall of 2014.PERMALINK
You may remember KK Dubberley’s story from a previous blog post. Like the Lutzenkirchen family, KK’s life took a turn she never anticipated.
In our latest video, Tom Rinaldi narrates as Mike Lutzenkirchen and KK each tell their stories, all leading up to the moment their paths cross with the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum and the PFL Scholarship program.
Lutzie's Legacy - KK's Story from Knight Eady on Vimeo.
On November 19, we launched our 43 Day Campaign. The goal of this campaign is to raise $43,000 in 43 Days in order to triple the number of PFL scholarships, further expand our Elementary School Adapted PE field days and dramatically expand the number of students using our 43 Lessons to Legacy character development curriculum in 2018. We have already seen great success and Lutzie 43 Foundation thanks you for your support of our initiatives.
Due to the campaign’s success so far, we have decided to have a fun giveaway we know you will be excited about. The first five people who donate $430 on December 15, 2017, will win a limited edition #43 Lutzenkirchen navy jersey!
Currently, the Lutzie 43 Foundation jersey is exclusively sold at the J&M bookstore and has been in high demand. The #43 Lutzenkirchen jersey allows you to help share the remarkable legacy of Philip. His jersey serves as a symbol of Philip’s many positive characteristics in terms of community service, leadership and service to others. Lutzie 43 hopes the jersey continues to remind those to “Live like Lutz, Love like Lutz, and Learn from Lutz.”
Your $430 donations, however, will do much more than provide a jersey. Your $430 donation provides a DJ for a special needs Joy Prom. Lutzie 43 Foundation currently provides a DJ for one special needs prom in Decatur, AL, and we wish to expand to others. Philip had a heart for those different than him, so the foundation is passionate about providing for those with special needs.
Higher donation amounts provide transportation for special needs students to attend Elementary School Adaptive PE Field Days. Bus transportation with wheelchair lifts is incredibly expensive for schools, so Lutzie 43 hosts field days and provides transportation for the students. Watch a video of the 2017 Adaptive PE Field days here and learn more about the field days here. A $4,300 donation will sponsor a PFL (Prepared for Life) Character Scholarship, a character-based scholarship eligible to students nationwide. We awarded 5 scholarships this year and plan to grow that number in 2018. Learn more about the scholarships here.
We ask that you consider giving to this important initiative. If you are inclined to give this donation, visit our campaign page here.
Winners of the #43 Lutzenkirchen jersey will be announced after the first five donations of $430 are given on December 15.
Thank you for your continual support of Lutzie 43!PERMALINK
We've got exciting news... in honor of an Auburn Iron Bowl victory, Lutzie 43 is giving away two tickets to the SEC Championship Game!
Names will be entered into the drawing for donations of $100 or more to our 43 Day Campaign. Donations must be made before Wednesday, November 29 at 12:00 am C.T. ONE winner will be drawn and will receive two tickets in section 107 to the SEC Championship Game taking place in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium on Saturday, December 2.
Want to increase your chances? For every additional $100 amount donated, your name is entered again! So, if you donate $300, your name will be entered into the drawing three times, $400 will be four times, and so on.
To donate and be entered to win, visit the 43 Day Campaign here.
Disclaimer: Entries will be accepted starting on November 19th, 2017, at 9:00 AM CST and ending November 29th, 2017 at 12:00 AM CST. All online entries must be received by November 29th, 2017 at 12:00 AM CST. To enter this contest, you must donate a value of $100 or more to our 43 Day Campaign. Anyone who has given a donation greater than $100 previously will still be entered into the drawing. Those who have given under $100 and donate the remaining level needed to reach the $100 threshold by 12:00 am on 11/29 are also eligible. Donations must be made before Wednesday, November 29 at 12:00 am CST. ONE winner will be drawn and will receive two tickets in section 107 to the SEC Championship Game taking place in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium on Saturday, December 2. You may have your name entered multiple times into the drawing for each donation of $100. Following the completion of the contest on November 29th, 2017 at 12:00 AM CST, one winner will be chosen at random from the entered names. The winner will be contacted via the email address provided for the donation by the Lutzie 43 Foundation on November 30th, 2017 at 12:00 PM CST. The winner will receive two tickets to the SEC Championship Game taking place on Saturday, December 2 at 3 pm CST Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Tickets to the game are in section 107.
This campaign, hosted by the Lutzie 43 Foundation is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. By entering, You, the Contestant, have affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the Official Rules. The Lutzie 43 Foundation holds the right to change, close, or cancel the promotion at any time.PERMALINK
2017 has been a great year for the Lutzie 43 Foundation, and we want to finish strong. We are excited to announce we’re launching our first 43 Day Campaign to raise $43,000 by December 31.
We’ve changed many lives with the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum and the PFL Scholarship, but we know we can impact more people. We have learned from all the feedback we’ve received that there are many young students who decided against making a poor decision because of our message. However, there are still many more that haven’t heard Philip’s story or participated in our character development curriculum, and we want to be able to reach them.
Our commitment to equipping young people, parents, coaches, athletes and teachers with the tools to be better decision-makers and friends shouldn’t stop here. We want to change—and save — more lives with Philip’s legacy. Watch this video to learn more about Philip’s story.
Since our founding, we have given over 265 43 Lessons to Legacy talks across the country and have reached more than 78,000 young people through those talks. Check out one of Mike’s speeches here to the see the impact he is making. In 2017, we expanded the adapted PE field days and gave out our first five PFL scholarships.
In 2018, we hope to triple the number of PFL scholarships, further expand our adapted PE field days and dramatically expand the number of students using the curriculum.
We need your support to help get us started on our 2018 goals by finishing 2017 strong through our 43 Day Campaign. This campaign means a lot to the foundation, but it means more to the students who will be impacted by our work.
We ask that you consider giving to this important initiative. If you are inclined to donate, we have chosen four direct impact levels that each directly impacts an initiative of Lutzie 43. Of course, any donation amount is appreciated and will support our initiatives.
A $43 donation will provide the 43 Lessons to Legacy character-based curriculum to ten students who cannot afford it.
A $430 donation provides a DJ for a special needs joy prom.
A $1,043 donation provides bussing transportation for special needs students to attend Adaptive PE Field Days.
A $4,300 donation will provide a student with a $4,300 scholarship in memory of Philip Lutzenkirchen. Co-branded scholarship opportunities are available.
To donate or learn more, visit our campaign page here.
Thank you for your continual support of Lutzie 43!PERMALINK
The Lutzie 43 Foundation awarded the first Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award to Maddie Sullivan, a sophomore in Auburn University’s School of Communication & Journalism, on November 6, 2017.
In March 2017, the Lutzie 43 Foundation announced that $20,000 had been raised to endow a scholarship in conjunction with Auburn University and bestowed by the W. James Samford, Jr. Foundation in Opelika. Jennifer Johnson, a lecturer in the School of Communication and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts, worked with the Lutzie 43 Foundation and Auburn University to create the award. The W. James Samford Jr. Foundation donated $37,000, and a generous $10,000 donation match by Gus and Kristi Malzahn from the Malzahn Family Foundation helped endow the first scholarship.
A total of 1,026 students applied for the award. The students were narrowed to 50 semi-finalists, with the top six finalists presenting on stage in front of 450 students, teachers, family and friends on Monday, November 6, 2017. Congratulations to Maddie and a special thank you for providing this post!
The first time I heard about Philip Lutzenkirchen was long before I ever knew I was going to be an Auburn student or was even an Auburn fan. I was a junior in high school, attending a summer camp in North Carolina with a friend who was an Auburn local. While we were there, we heard about Philip’s accident; my friend was distraught upon hearing the news. I remember asking if she had known Philip personally. She had not, but she told me all about Philip’s character, his impact on the Auburn community, and his important role at Auburn University. Although I knew so little myself about Philip Lutzenkirchen at the time, I remember being amazed that one man could impact so many people, even those he didn’t have personal connections with. Although I knew so little about him, I was instantly inspired by his legacy.
Fast forward three years: I am a sophomore at Auburn University and am studying Marketing. During my two years on campus, I had heard various things about the Lutzie 43 Foundation but still didn’t have any sort of personal connection. This fall, I enrolled in COMM 1000, a required class for business majors, and at the beginning of the semester was told about the Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award Competition. I remember thinking how thrilling it would be to get to compete in the competition. I’ve always really enjoyed public speaking and once I learned the competition was sponsored by the Lutzie 43 Foundation, I was further intrigued. However, I did not think I would have the chance to compete due to a large number of participants vying for the award.
Peyton Parra, Cory Blackmon, Maddie Sullivan, James Luppino, Zahra Hooda, Jacob Sparks.
Surprisingly, I advanced to the finals for the competition. Leading up to the competition, I did some more research on the Lutzie 43 Foundation and the remarkable life of Philip Lutzenkirchen; I wanted to better understand the heart behind the Foundation and the greater scope of impact Philip had on Auburn and its community. As I read about Philip’s kind-hearted nature, his excellence in athletics, his heart for others, and his incredible public speaking skills, I was not only impacted but also humbled to have the chance to use my own passion for public speaking to honor the memory of an Auburn legend.
The night of the competition was a bit of a blur. I was the last participant to speak in the competition and while I was definitely nervous by the time it came for me to speak, I found comfort in the fact that my speech was for a greater purpose: honoring a lost member of the Auburn family and celebrating the amazing life he lived. As I looked out at the audience full of Auburn students, many of whom are friends of mine, I realized how grateful I was to belong to a community that was so kind, supportive, and strong. Philip Lutzenkirchen was an essential member of that Auburn community; he lived the life of a true Auburn man, living with humility, boldness, and intentionality. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Philip personally, I felt connected to him and his legacy that night as I spoke.
As the first recipient of the Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award, I am humbled to be able to use a God-given passion for communication to help further highlight the life of Philip Lutzenkirchen and the ongoing work and impact of the Lutzie 43 Foundation. Whenever I look at the award, I will remember the life of Philip Lutzenkirchen and will be reminded to strive for excellence in all I do, to love others with a genuine heart, and to live with a spirit that is not afraid.PERMALINK
Special thanks to Ty Mercer for providing this post.
September 17, 2011 is a day I will never forget. Auburn was traveling to Clemson with the goal to continue their winning streak from the 2010 National Championship season. My mom is a huge Auburn fan. I have always watched and rooted for Auburn because of her but I never actually cared that much. However, I always found particular players I loved to watch. I have constantly been a fan of the tight end, fullback, defensive end and linebacker positions. At that time in Auburn football, my favorite player was Philip Lutzenkirchen.
I was going through a very odd time in my life where I was unsure of my identity and I was not comfortable in my own skin. I was headed down the wrong path. My mom knew that I had not been myself for the past few years and she was starting to worry where I was mentally. She wanted to go to the Auburn versus Clemson game, so I agreed to go with her. Inevitably, Auburn lost the game and, consequently, their winning streak. Also, Lutzenkirchen was injured during the game.
After the game ended, we walked around trying to find some friends of my mom's. When we saw the Auburn busses, we gave up looking. I asked my mom if she wanted to go watch the players get onto the bus, but she said it was okay because she knew I might not want to. I told her not to worry because this was her day and not mine. She was pretty shocked at my answer, as it was completely out of character for how I had been acting the past few years.
As we stood there and watched, we noticed this family in front of us wearing the number 43 jersey. When I finally saw Lutzenkirchen, I was so excited. It’s not every day that one of your favorite players is standing right in front of you. I asked for a picture and, even though he was exhausted and hurting, he said yes. I told him quickly that I was a huge fan. He responded with a 'thank you.' Our conversation was short, but he encouraged me to keep working hard.
When my mom showed me the picture of the two of us together, she said she could see the old me coming back. I was finally happy again. I went to my high school the Monday after I met Philip and joined the football team.
All of this led to me turning my life around for the better and getting back on the right track. It may seem like a small thing, but meeting Philip helped me when all I needed was a little push in my life. Philip will always be one of my top five favorite football players of all-time and I will never stop cheering on Auburn. WAR EAGLE!PERMALINK
All eyes were on Philip for most of his athletic career. On the field, Philip executed and set an example for his teammates surrounding him. Philip had a profound impact on others throughout his life, and not just through his athletic efforts. People looked to Philip because of who he was off the field as well. It was clear he valued charity, compassion, mentorship, honesty, hard work, faith and leadership.
Philip excelled at being a leader, and through his life, he changed many lives. In the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum, “Leader” is lesson 37.
A leader is defined as the person who leads or commands a group, organization or country. In 43 Lessons to Legacy, Guz Malzahn shares how Philip was a leader on the Auburn Football Team. Philip led by example, a fact that both his coaches and teammates noted. Through his efforts both on and off the field, he became Auburn’s leading receiver and one of the most popular Auburn players of all time.
Malzahn says that good leadership begins with good character and that a call to leadership is a call to service. He gives the lesson that to become a leader, we must learn from the leaders in our own lives so that we can develop strong leadership skills.
Leadership means standing up for others, guiding others towards success, listening and working together for a common goal. This is what Philip did. Philip led by making sacrifices, and he inspired others to perform their best through guidance.
Leadership is something we should all strive for in life. Whether on or off the field, we can lead. For us to become better leaders, we must appreciate and understand the many ways people view and act on leadership. As Malzahn said, we must learn from leaders to develop our own leadership.
Business News Daily defines leadership through a series of traits. In her article on the subject, Jennifer Post compiled a list of leadership definitions from inspirational and well-known leaders in society. The leaders she asked defined leadership as the pursuit of bettering your environment. Leadership is knowing your team and yourself well and giving people the tools to succeed. Leadership is being an open, authentic and positive influence. Leadership is about listening, inspiring and empowering.
Shane House wrote on leadership from his perception as a sports fan. House said that confidence is what best prepares a person to become a leader. He went on to say that leaders can show their team they can do anything and they are the ones who perform in the clutch moments. Philip is remembered as this kind of player. No one could forget his winning touchdown in the 2010 Iron Bowl game and the reaction that followed. This play, along with many others, showed the confidence he held that made him a leader.
House finished by stating, “That is what a leader does. He makes people better while leading by example, and that example is playing with class, heart and a determination that inspires people to rise up and better themselves, both as a player, and as a human being.”
These qualities from the multiple views on leadership stem from the ability of an individual to establish a following among others. Philip established that following. We can learn to how to lead from these leaders and by the example Philip set before us.PERMALINK
This post was written by Daniels Duhe, friend of Philip and winner of the 2017 Road Race.
I wanted to come to the Lutzie 43 Road Race in Marietta in June of 2016, but some various life things happened that summer that prevented me from making the trip. I was pretty upset about missing it, because ever since Philip’s passing I haven’t really had anyone around that knew him and could understand what his loss meant, not just to me but to anyone who interacted with him.
Philip and I had English Comp I and II together. We both came to Auburn at the same time. I knew who he was before I ever met him – I’m a huge Auburn fan, so I had seen the highlight of him catching a pass out of bounds and throwing it into a teammate. The play was selfless, which perfectly describes Philip and the way he lived on and off the field.
We weren’t best friends, but Philip was friends with everyone and always made me feel like our friendship mattered to him. People, myself included, just gravitated toward him. And it wasn’t just because of football, he was a happy person with a contagiously optimistic attitude about everything. Everything he said and did came from a good place; he was genuinely a good person.
I was so bummed I had to miss the 2016 Road Race, but I knew I’d make it to the next one. I started training for the 2017 Road Race shortly after the 2016 one had passed. I started running track when I was young – probably 3rd or 4th grade – and I noticed that I was pretty good because I beat most of the older kids in school. However, when high school came around, I started focusing on football because it was the “cooler” sport. I didn’t reinvest in track until I was a senior trying to decide on colleges and how to spend my next four years.
I ultimately decided to walk-on to Auburn’s track team, despite having some interest from a few smaller schools. However, upon arriving, I began to have some pretty severe leg pains and problems. I went to my orthopedist and he gave me the news that I had a genetic disorder called Chronic Exertional Bilateral Compartment Syndrome, and that I would need surgery if I wanted to continue training at a high level.
I decided to go ahead and get the surgery, but after six months of no running and minimal walking, I realized competing in SEC sprints (as I was always a 100 and 200m sprinter until last year) was no longer an option. I transferred back to the University of South Alabama, where I finished out my remaining three years of eligibility.
When 2017’s Road Race came along, I knew I had to be there. I had spent the last year training so I could pay tribute to my buddy in a way he’d hopefully be proud of. When you meet someone like Philip, you can’t help but be curious as to who he really is and where he came from. Having known Philip, I could tell his community and his loved ones played a large part in him becoming the hero he was.
As the race date approached, my Achilles started acting up again. This time though, it wasn’t going to stop me from making the trip I had been preparing for. My mom, Susan, and I decided last-minute that we were making the trip.
Once we arrived at the stadium the next day I knew we had made the right call. Everyone we spoke to that morning was more than welcoming and the entire atmosphere was reflective of the Philip I remembered. Winning this race really meant a lot to me as it provided a sort of catharsis that I was unable to find anywhere else. However, having a chance to speak to Mr. Mike and take a picture with Phil’s family members was the real victory of the day.
-Daniels Duhe, winner of the 2017 Road Race in Marietta, GA
This post was written by Karen Moore, CEO of Baldwin EMC.
One of the most important values in the electric industry is safety. At Baldwin EMC, we know that building a strong safety culture involves engagement and empowerment. We constantly look for unique ways to educate and challenge our employees. That’s why when Jody Taylor, Vice President of Operations, suggested Mike Lutzenkirchen’s message, I knew it would be relevant at our 2016 year-end Safety Meeting.
As our guest speaker, Mike did a fantastic job challenging our employees to look out for one another and to be disciplined in their decision-making. We even experienced one of our own employees choosing to be a great friend rather than just a good one. When Mike mentioned the Lutzie 43 curriculum and what he called “school-based character education,” it grabbed my attention. As a cooperative, we are always looking for opportunities to impact our future leaders. I briefly spoke with Mike after the meeting and told him that I would love to help get the curriculum into our schools.
In early 2017, we invited a representative from our school system to a meeting with Mike, myself and a Baldwin EMC staff member representing our charitable foundation. We discussed the Lutzie 43 Foundation and realized that it would not be a seamless entry into our public schools due to the faith-based element in the curriculum. We did not want to give up without trying though. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
Here is what we learned through the process: faith-based events and curriculum are not “banned” from public schools; however, they cannot be mandatory nor can they be conducted by a paid school employee. Mike began brainstorming ways to ensure interested athletes could participate while also protecting everyone’s rights. His idea to recruit the area Fellowship of Christian Athletes Director, Dennis Hayford, was pivotal for moving forward. Dennis worked diligently with Mike to develop an implementation plan and write a grant for funding through Baldwin EMC’s Charitable Foundation. Thankfully, our Charitable Foundation Board has six established categories for grant distribution and education is one of them.
Throughout the entire process, I found myself admiring Mike and Dennis’ teamwork. They met with each school’s athletic director and outlined a plan in which the football team’s volunteer chaplains would lead the voluntary meetings either before or after practices. As a result, every public-school football team in Baldwin County received the Lessons to Legacy books and have started the curriculum.
The Lutzie 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum emphasizes traits such as patience, discipline, communication, willingness, courage, respect, commitment and purpose. How pertinent these were for us during this journey! It’s proof that the Lessons to Legacy are applicable to anyone at any age. We support Mike’s passion for character development and are thankful we can honor his son Philip’s legacy through this partnership.
Karen Moore, CEO Baldwin EMCPERMALINK
Mike spoke to students at Sylacauga HS on Thursday, August 10. He shared Philip’s story, and the ways everyone can love, live and learn from Philip’s life and the tragic circumstances that ended it.
This story always resonates with those who hear it – especially with teenagers going through the tough years of figuring out self-identity and how to withstand peer pressure. In Sylacauga, Mike’s message hit particularly close to home with two boys in the crowd.
When lifelong friends Lane and Jonas heard Mike was coming to speak about his son’s death that resulted from a car accident, they were filled with anxiety. Lane’s parents were nervous, too. How would they be able to sit through Mike’s story without having to relive their own?
When Lane was five years old, his 16-year-old sister died as a result of a reckless driving accident. The SUV was speeding at 100mph when it flipped. All five people in the car were thrown out – his sister was only one who died.
After Mike spoke, he received an email from Jonas’s mom.
I would like to thank you for coming to our small town to speak. You delivered a message that speaks to people of all ages. I was truly touched by your story. My heart breaks for your family and your tragic loss of a beautiful child. God has blessed you with the courage to come into communities and speak to our youth about making good decisions. He is truly working through you.
I wanted to share with you what my 12-year-old son said on our way home. He said, “Momma, you know, that man spoke from his heart and he was so honest. He talked about what a good person his son was and told stories of good things he did, but he also said he made a bad decision. He is a real person that really wants us kids to make better decisions. I'm glad I got to hear him and meet him. I hope I can be someone that makes a difference one day.”
Mike followed up with Jonas’s mom after receiving such a powerful email.
“After experiencing such a tragedy at a young age, it meant a lot to those boys to hear about the great legacy that [Mike’s] son left and the heart he had,” said Jonas’s mom. She said that hearing Mike speak about the positive change that had come out of Philip’s death made a huge impact on her son and his friend. It showed them that tragedy could be used as a platform to produce growth and bring healing.
“We have always preached to our kids to always make good decisions, using Jessica’s death as an example,” she said. “How [Mike] spoke that night was so from the heart and so brutally honest.” She said hearing the message from someone else who had experienced a similar tragedy really struck a chord with the boys.
“It meant so much to see that this man was raw and cared; it was amazing that he could tell his story to them,” she said. “I think every high school child and adult should hear Mike speak. I’ve heard a lot of speakers, but Mike is the most powerful speaker I have ever heard.”
After Mike spoke at Marist High School, he received an email from the mom of one of the students. We want to say a very special thank-you to Trisha Addicks for providing this post and for sharing her story.
Our son, Michael, has been an Auburn fan since he met his best friend in pre-K. Both my husband and I went to UGA and are rabid UGA fans, but the pull of his friend's deep AU roots made him an Auburn fan for life. His favorite player was Philip Lutzenkirchen.
Philip’s father, Mike, spoke to our son’s senior class at his school last spring. We had a senior breakfast afterward, and I was serving with several other mothers. Michael was last through the line – which was crazy – because he loves to eat and usually makes a point to be in the front. We had no idea why he was so late to the breakfast, but as it turns out, he had stayed around to meet Mike after the talk.
That night, Michael told us about the speech and how much it affected him. We talked about alcohol, snap decisions that can alter/end a life, college, football and life after college. It was a candid, sad, good, eye-opening talk unlike any we’ve had before. I went into Michael’s room the day after this speech and found a Bible by his bed. I don’t recall there being a Bible there ever before. I know that hearing Mike speak was a catalyst for this. I cannot imagine the strength it takes for Philip’s father to do these talks, or the generosity of spirit it requires to do these speeches. His message definitely reached Michael and his friends.
Michael left this past June to play football at Vanderbilt. In the early days of August preseason camp, Michael hurt his back. He immediately had surgery and is now recuperating at home. We don’t know what the future holds for Michael and football, but I do know that he will persevere. He has received the gift of team support, love and great medical care. This is a bump in the road in what will be a very bright future for our son.
Seeing the Lutzenkirchens go on after their unimaginable tragedy helps me put things in perspective. Our other son, Charlie, is now a Senior football player at the same high school. I hope that our school administration knows what a great impact Mr. Lutzenkirchen’s talk had the players last year and that they choose him to speak to our boys again. As a parent, all I want is for my boys to be healthy and happy. I am sure that that is all the Lutzenkirchens wanted also. I am amazed that Mike Lutzenkirchen is able to help so many others while dealing with his personal pain. I didn’t know his son and I don’t know him, but I am grateful for his efforts and mission and appreciate the profound effect his words had and continue to have on our family and our family’s friends.
As it turns out, Trisha's son Michael proudly wears the number 43 on his Vanderbilt jersey.
My name is Kerilyn Dubberley, but most people simply call me KK. I am a 16-year-old rising senior at Lee Scott Academy in Auburn, Alabama and I enjoy riding horses and playing softball and basketball. I also love to read and write poetry. After high school, I plan to attend Auburn University and hopefully fulfill my dreams of studying osteopathic medicine. I am honored to be one of the first recipients of the PFL Character Scholarship from the Lutzie 43 Foundation.
Throughout my life, I have faced many challenges that have taught me so much about myself and shaped who I am today. My study of the 43 Lessons to Legacy character development curriculum came at the perfect time in my life and was a much-needed time of reflection during a tough time. When I was ten years old, my parents got divorced. The following year, my childhood home went down in flames. A few years went by, troubles striking here and there, and then in 2016, my dad was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. A few months later, he was told he had Parkinson's disease. It was at this time that I decided I would move in with to help with his care. As a sophomore in high school and not of age to drive, I was uneasy about how I could do this. I questioned God and wanted to know why? Honestly, I wanted to know what I had done to deserve this. I was selfish. I felt so sorry for myself, not realizing that life could be a lot worse. I refused to see the bigger picture as I focused on my own troubles.
As I sat in my ACT prep class, we began reading the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum. Every single lesson had a huge impact on me, but three hit right at home. The lesson of Patience written by Mary Lutzenkirchen was the first lesson I came across. "The willingness to endure without complaint," the definition read. I never knew the real meaning of patience, but the words on the page hit me hard. I saw in the story how Philip was so patient when things didn't go his way. He was always patient because he knew the Lord's timing was better than he could imagine. He knew God was working no matter what he was going through, so he smiled.
The lessons Strength and Happiness went hand and hand together for me. There have been days for me where giving up seemed like the easiest road, but I was encouraged by how Philip never did. He was strong enough to endure whatever the world threw at him, and he remained happy. He knew that the Lord had his back in every situation, even if the Lord’s plans were not exactly what he had in mind.
This curriculum taught me so much more than I had intended. It helped me to stop
asking why, and start asking how. I stopped questioning, “why is God doing this to me,” and challenged myself to think, “how is God working in me and through me?” I have slowly but surely realized that God has done certain things and put me through certain situations to help me. I learned to be patient when the storm seems everlasting, to be strong in any situation, and to remain happy because God is working, even if I don't see it now. This is something I would have never realized without the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum. Philip had a gift. Although I never knew him personally, it was very evident that he was someone of great character.
My dad used to drive the football equipment for the university. When I asked my dad what Philip was like, he said, "He was always laughing, always smiling,
always willing to help, and always willing to do anything to make someone else happy." There aren't many people who would go the miles Philip did to make someone happy, but that's why he left such a legacy behind. My goal every day is to live like Lutz, love like Lutz, and learn from Lutz.PERMALINK
My name is Kerilyn Dubberley, but most people simply call me KK. I am a 16-year-old rising senior at Lee Scott Academy in Auburn, Alabama and I enjoy riding horses and playing softball and basketball. I also love to read and write poetry. After high school, I plan to attend Auburn University and hopefully fulfill my dreams of studying osteopathic medicine. I am honored to be one of the first recipients of the PFL Character Scholarship from the Lutzie 43 Foundation.
Lutzie 43 PFL Character Scholarship - KK from Knight Eady on Vimeo.
Throughout my life, I have faced many challenges that have taught me so much about myself and shaped who I am today. My study of the 43 Lessons to Legacy character development curriculum came at the perfect time in my life and was a much-needed time of reflection during a tough time. When I was ten years old, my parents got divorced. The following year, my childhood home went down in flames. A few years went by, troubles striking here and there, and then in 2016 my dad was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. A few months later, he was told he had Parkinson's disease. It was at this time that I decided I would move in with to help with his care. As a sophomore in high school and not of age to drive, I was uneasy about how I could do this. I questioned God and wanted to know why? Honestly, I wanted to know what I had done to deserve this. I was selfish. I felt so sorry for myself, not realizing that life could be a lot worse. I refused to see the bigger picture as I focused on my own troubles.
As I sat in my ACT prep class, we began reading the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum. Every single lesson had a huge impact on me, but three hit right at home. The lesson of Patience written by Mary Lutzenkirchen was the first lesson I came across. "The willingness to endure without complaint," the definition read. I never knew the real meaning of patience, but the words on the page hit me hard. I saw in the story how Philip was so patient when things didn't go his way. He was always patient, because he knew the Lord's timing was better than he could imagine. He knew God was working no matter what he was going through, so he smiled.
The lessons Strength and Happiness went hand and hand together for me. There have been days for me where giving up seemed like the easiest road, but I was encourage by how Philip never did. He was strong enough to endure whatever the world threw at him, and he remained happy. He knew that the Lord had his back in every situation, even if the Lord’s plans were not exactly what he had in mind.
This curriculum taught me so much more than I had intended. It helped me to stop asking why, and start asking how. I stopped questioning, “why is God doing this to me,” and challenged myself to think, “how is God working in me and through me?” I have slowly but surely realized that God has done certain things and put me through certain situations to help me. I learned to be patient when the storm seems everlasting, to be strong in any situation, and to remain happy because God is working, even if I don't see it now. This is something I would have never realized without the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum. Philip had a gift. Although I never knew him personally, it was very evident that he was someone of great character.
My dad used to drive the football equipment for the university. When I asked my dad what Philip was like, he said, "He was always laughing, always smiling, always willing to help, and always willing to do anything to make someone else happy." There aren't many people who would go the miles Philip did to make someone happy, but that's why he left such a legacy behind. My goal every day is to live like Lutz, love like Lutz, and learn from Lutz.PERMALINK
A longtime friend of Philip, Brian Penter, writes on the blog today to share a special birthday tribute to Philip.
Birthdays are a time of celebration. There’s cake, decorations, and presents with friends and family gathering to celebrate someone’s day. It’s always a joyous occasion. As today marks what would have been Philip’s 26th birthday, the occasion has taken on a different meaning, as we all take the time to reflect and remember his wonderful life.
I remember birthday parties with Philip growing up. There were always a lot of kids, because Philip had so many friends. One in particular sticks out. It was the summer that the Lutzenkirchens installed a full-court concrete basketball court in their backyard. It was the coolest thing ever for us basketball-obsessed kids. We would lower the goals to 7 feet and dunk on them (which led to Philip chipping his front teeth on the rim multiple times). For his birthday that summer, Philip hosted an all-day basketball tournament, where we played until sundown, before cutting the cake and watching Philip rip open his presents. It was a great day.
I also remember Philip’s last birthday on Earth. He had turned 23 and we went out to celebrate at a local Mexican restaurant near our apartment in Montgomery. We joked about those good old times and talked about what lied ahead. It’s hard to believe that was three years ago.
On June 1, 2015, Philip’s first birthday after his passing from this life, a group of us gathered at the Lutzenkirchen home. We wanted to celebrate his life and treat his birthday as a special occasion like it had always been. We shared memories, spoke of his life and some tears were shed. We cut a cake and remembered the 23 beautiful years he served on this Earth. It was not easy, but it was important to celebrate his life in remembrance.
It is sad that he’s not here anymore to celebrate on June 1st with us all, but I know he’s smiling down on all of us. I’m so grateful to have known him and I cherish all those memories we had together. I know anyone that knew Philip feels the same way. Our lives are much better because of the joy he brought to them. We’ll never forget that.
Happy Birthday, Philip. We miss you. We love you. We’ll see you soon.PERMALINK
In front of 250+ senior students at Hibbing High School in Minnesota, a young student raised her hand and asked, “Does speaking about your son to all of us bring you joy?” I had to pause, for what seemed liked 30 seconds, to gather my thoughts and hold back tears. I had never been asked that question before. Her question made me reflect on the WHY, the reason we created the foundation in the first place.
As I awoke on Monday, May 15, I was reminded exactly of our WHY. It was the day of our second annual Lutzie 43 Golf Invitational, and I knew, based on last year’s Inaugural event, we were in store for a great day. While everyone was still waking up and getting ready for the day, I grabbed a golf cart and drove the beautiful landscape at Pursell Farms to reflect.
When I returned to the lodge, it was evident that everyone was waiting on me and wondering where I had been all morning. They were all dressed and ready to go, where I had not even showered, still wearing the shirt I wore to bed the night before. It had not occurred to me how long I was actually out on the course that morning, shedding tears of sadness and joy, talking to my son Philip and reflecting on all that has been accomplished since his passing.
In my mind, I question weekly if we should be investing in the Lutzie 43 Foundation. But, when I search my heart and lean on my faith in God, his beloved son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, there is a clear view to WHY we do what we do. Philip tells us daily that it is okay to smile and have joy in this Foundation. We need to share his stories with kids from ages 12 to 24, to help shape their purpose through developing good character and good decision-making skills.
If you could have been in the room at our after-golf dinner and witnessed our initial five PFL Prepared for Life Character Scholarship winners accepting their $4,300 Scholarship you would, without a doubt, see that Philip continues to live and bring joy too many. It is because of people like you, who support our foundation wholeheartedly that make a difference.
I cannot thank my family, my friends, our board members, Coach Malzahn, Coach Spurrier and Tony Barnhart enough for sharing a day to support the Lutzie 43 Foundation.
The Lutzie 43 Foundation has announced that five high school students from across the United States will receive $4,300 PFL (Prepared for Life) Character Scholarships for their postsecondary education. The $4,300 scholarship winners were selected through a rigorous application process where applicants had to discuss and demonstrate the impact on their thinking and actions resulting from their study and participation in the 43 Lessons to Legacy character development curriculum. The following five students from across the United States were named as recipients of the 2017 PFL Character Scholarship:
“The Lutzie 43 Foundation is humbled by the number of outstanding applications for our first annual PFL Character Scholarship. These five award recipients demonstrated tremendous growth from their journey through the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum program and are excellent representatives of the mission and values of our foundation,” said Mike Lutzenkirchen, Executive Director of the Lutzie 43 Foundation. “We want to help prepare them for successful completion of their education and lead them to successful careers that position them to give back to their communities and society.”
Philip Francis Lutzenkirchen became a household name during his football career at Auburn, but his impact and legacy extended well beyond his days on the gridiron. As a loving brother, son and friend and devout follower of Christ, he impacted his communities in many ways through service, leadership, mentorship and genuine compassion. Established in Philip’s memory, the Lutzie 43 Foundation developed the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum to live out his legacy by focusing on character and mentor development in the lives of young people and their influencers. To add to this mission, the Lutzie 43 Foundation established the PFL (Prepared For Life) Character Scholarship program, which will now equip outstanding young people with the tools and lessons he or she needs to leave a lasting and profound legacy through mentor development, education and scholarship.
“Through the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum and scholarship program, our goal is to help safeguard young people, reduce poor decisions, and improve the way they serve and treat others,” remarked Mike Lutzenkirchen.
High school juniors or seniors and current postsecondary undergraduates enrolled in a full-time accredited program at a two-year or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school who complete the 43 Lessons to Legacy program are eligible to apply for the scholarship by submitting a reflection essay about their experience. Applicants must also include a letter of recommendation from his or her mentor with the application.
The $4,300 PFL Character Scholarships will be awarded annually each spring. For more information on eligibility and how to apply for the 2018 awards cycle, visit www.lutzie43.org/scholarship.PERMALINK
When my family sat down and decided to continue Philip’s legacy through a foundation, I knew deep in my heart that serving the special needs community would be my mission. Philip’s heart was enormous when it came to finding a way to make people smile, and his passion for kids who were facing a tough challenge was undeniable. My heart was calling me to help bring smiles to some kids faces through the foundation.
Last year I reached out to the Cobb County Special Needs department about partnering with them for a Special Needs prom. Who didn’t love going to the prom?! Cobb County was way ahead of me with their annual Valentine’s Day dance held at Kennesaw Mountain High School.
OK, next idea. How about a field day for the high schools? Cobb County had that covered. Middle school? Done. However, what Cobb County didn’t have was a field day for the elementary age special needs kids. With 65 elementary schools that feed into the 16 high schools in Cobb County, I knew this was where Lutzie 43 could help.
I was introduced to Ms. Heidi Evans and her team of amazing teachers who are a part of the Cobb County Adapted PE program. Adapted PE provides physical education classes specifically for students with physical or mental challenges such as autism, down syndrome, or a student who may be missing a limb.
Ms. Heidi and her team explained the difficulty to find the proper funding to get close to 200 Adapted PE elementary students to a central location for a field day. Bus transportation can be expensive, but the additional cost of special needs buses with wheelchair lifts made the event even further from reach. We knew as a foundation that our job was to get these kids to the field day, no matter the cost.
In a little over a year and a half, we were able to pull together three field days across the county with close to 200 students at each event. Last school year we hosted one for the South Cobb district elementary schools and this year we expanded to two field days – one for South Cobb schools and one for East Cobb schools. Osborne High School and Lassiter High School so generously supported each field day through set up, tear down, and providing wonderful student volunteers. I am blown away by the support of the community and our partner local corporations who donated to help provide these buses so kids and teachers could come enjoy a day of fun and fellowship.
It is hard to put into words the joy I saw on the kids' faces as they ran around and played. So many hugs, so many laughs, so much dancing!
I can still remember the smile of one 5-year-old little girl. She did not have her legs and was missing half of her arm, but she had a smile so wide that you could see all of her missing teeth! When I first met her she was in a motorized wheelchair. I thought to myself, “I wonder how much she will be able to do and experience at this field day.” She could watch the other kids running around, but would she still have fun? A few minutes later I turned back and she was out of her wheelchair laughing her head off in the bounce house. She used her abs to explode herself into the air. She participated in EVERY station, from bowling to the obstacle course and even jump rope. The whole time she was laughing, smiling, yelling and thanking me for all the fun she was having. I will never forget that little girl.
I know the purpose of serving others is not to make your own self feel good, but I can’t help but smile and find so much goodness in our field days. At each of our three field days, I have walked up to the top of the football stadium seats and simply watched. I listen, I soak it all in, and honestly, I tear up. I have come to realize that not only are these adapted PE students amazing, but so are their teachers. They radiate patience, kindness, service and a passion for the kids. I am so thankful for being a small part of these kids’ lives. While we set these field days up to impact these kids, they have impacted my life more than I could ever imagine.
Our field days are one of those moments where we bring to life the saying on the Lutzie 43 Foundation wristbands, and what I believe Philip’s life and legacy is all about - “I know God is working so I smile.”
Check out a video recap here: 2017 Lutzie 43 Foundation Adapted PE Elementary Field Day from Knight Eady on Vimeo.PERMALINK
The purpose of the Lutzie 43 Blog is to bring you content that encourages you, teaches you, and inspires you. We want to remember Philip’s Legacy by celebrating those who exemplify the characteristics found in the “43 Lessons to Legacy” curriculum. It is a platform for family, friends and followers of the foundation to share their stories of success, failures, trials, hope and most importantly, faith.
The blog will highlight Mike’s travels and where he has felt the impact of Philip’s legacy through his talks throughout the country. It will provide a way for students, parents and athletes to share their personal testimonials and how the foundation has left an impression on their minds and hearts.
The Lutzie 43 Blog is a space that will feature posts written by board members, sponsors and scholarship winners. It will give you a behind the scenes look at all our fundraising events like the Lutzie 43 Invitational and annual road race at Lutzie Field.
When people tell their stories, we can learn and grow together. We are so excited for the launch of the Lutzie 43 Blog to share more about the ways we are committed to our mission of character building and giving back. We are overwhelmed by the love, support and impact Lutzie 43 has had since we lost Philip, and are thrilled for what is to come.PERMALINK