Meet Cooper Taylor, a 2022 PFL Scholarship Winner
My name is Cooper Taylor and I am honored to be one of the recipients of the 2022 Prepared for Life Scholarship. First off, I would like to commemorate the Lutzie 43 Foundation for all of their hard work surrounding the prevention of distracted driving. I extend my sincerest gratitude to Mike Lutzenkirchen and the rest of the foundation for blessing me with this scholarship.
My brothers and I grew up idolizing Philip and would often mimic his renowned celebration dance, otherwise known as “The Lutzie”. I looked up to him and the rest of the Auburn football team, so, when the news broke about his passing in 2014, I was devastated. I remember thinking life was unfair and wondered why God would do such a thing. Philip was a role model for kids all around the country and in the blink of an eye, he was gone. Philip’s accident was an eye-opener for me. I found out that life wasn’t a given. I found my fourth grade self to be criticizing my parents’ driving and would constantly remind my brothers to buckle up. I was a worried, terrified child who was still mourning the loss of one of his heroes. As a child, not a day went by that I didn’t think about Philip Lutzenkirchen when I stepped into a vehicle. I will carry Philip’s wisdom and morals throughout my entire life.
In the fall of 2021, Mike Lutzenkirchen gave a heartfelt speech to the students at my school. Mr. Lutzenkirchen explained the details behind Philip’s life, the dangers of distracted, impaired and unsafe driving, and encouraged us to sign the 43 Key Seconds Safe Driving Pledge. He promoted safe driving, but also illustrated the outstanding life of his son, Philip Lutzenkirchen. We were moved by his words; he had such a way of reaching a high school audience. Philip was an amazing human being who truly exemplified what it was like to be an Auburn man. Mr. Lutzenkirchen’s wise words have left a lasting impact on me. Quickly after, I signed the pledge and promised myself to always embody the spirit of Philip Lutzenkirchen.
One of the many lessons in the 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum, was the lesson of spirit. Many believe that the definition of spirit refers to one’s excitement or happiness. After reading the lesson, spirit could be accurately described as the ability to connect with others through a loving and caring demeanor. Spirit is something that all people possess, but must dig deep enough to uncover the true meaning of spirit. I firmly believe that Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s spirit has impacted the children who looked up to him, like myself.
Winning this scholarship has meant the absolute world to me. Thank you so much to the Lutzie 43 Foundation for giving me the opportunity to honor Philip Lutzenkirchen as I continue my education at Auburn University. Philip has been such an impact in my life and I am beyond grateful for the life lessons that he has taught me.