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
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