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The story behind the 2017 road race winner

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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.

Lutzie 43 Road Race 2017-5

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.

Lutzie 43 Road Race 2017-32

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

Lutz Race

TAGS: run, Lutzie 43, marieta, georgia, philip lutzenkirchen, football, auburn, auburn tigers, war eagle, go tigers

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Giving Back: Baldwin EMC Sponsors 43 Lessons Curriculum in Schools

Saturday, September 30, 2017

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 EMC               

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Live, Love, Learn: Speaking about the Past

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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.”

Jonas

TAGS: car accident, Philip, Philip Lutzenkirchen, Mike Lutzenkirchen, Lutzie43, 43, Auburn football, Sylacauga, Sylacauga high school

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Parenting: How Philip's Story Can Inspire Important Conversations

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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.

2017LutzieInvitational-133

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. 

Addick's Vanderbilt Jersey

 

TAGS: mom, college, high school, football, college injury, injury, recovery, lessons learned, family conversations, how to talk to your kids, parenting, hard topics with kids, safety for teens, smart decisions, parenting advice, Philip Lutzenkirchen, Lutzie43, Philip, Lutzie, Lassiter, motivation, motivational speech, motivational talk, Mike Lutzenkirchen, Lutzenkirchen foundation, auburn football

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PFL Character Scholarship Winner - KK

Monday, June 12, 2017

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.

TAGS: scholarship, winners, foundation, PFL Character Scholarship, 43 Lessons to Legacy, curriculum

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Monday, June 12, 2017

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.

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Happy Birthday Philip

Thursday, June 1, 2017

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.

TAGS: Birthday, Philip, tribute, Lutzenkirchen

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Mike’s Monthly Message (May 2017)

Friday, May 26, 2017

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.  

 

God Bless,

Mike Lutzenkirchen

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Lutzie 43 Foundation awards five students PFL Character Scholarship

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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:

  • Nick Kramer, Naperville Central H.S. Naperville, Ill. (Senior)
  • Baylon Fry, Southside H.S., Gadsden, Ala. (Senior)
  • Zachary Kirschner, Lassiter High School, Marietta, Ga. (Senior)
  • Kerilyn Dubberly, Lee-Scott Academy, Auburn, Ala. (Junior)
  • Michael Zelinski, Gloucester Catholic, Gloucester, N.J. (Junior)

“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.

TAGS: scholarship, winners, foundation, PFL Character Scholarship, 43 Lessons to Legacy

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Bringing a Vision to Life-Lutzie 43 Adapted PE Elementary Field Day

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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.

Lutzie 43 - Second Annual Adapted PE Elementary Field Day-1

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.

Lutzie 43 - Second Annual Adapted PE Elementary Field Day-13

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.

Lutzie 43 - Second Annual Adapted PE Elementary Field Day-9

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.”

 

-Ann Lutzenkirchen 

 

Check out a video recap here: 2017 Lutzie 43 Foundation Adapted PE Elementary Field Day from Knight Eady on Vimeo.

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Welcome to the Lutzie 43 Blog

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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.

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