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Lutzie 43

Meet Joseph Smith, a 2024 PFL Scholarship Winner

I first want to warmly thank the wonderful individuals at the Lutzie 43 Foundation. They have granted me an opportunity that will encourage me to proceed in my goal of higher education and to educate my peers extensively on how to stay safe while driving. Being a recipient of the Prepared for Life (PFL) Scholarship shows everyone how much I desire to help others. I feel the need to join the fight against homelessness, and also the fight against the absence of fathers in families. While I was growing up, I experienced situations such as the absence of my father and also experiencing getting evicted. This grows the burning desire to go back into my community to try my best to improve the situations of many individuals.

The act of selflessness is something that me and Philip Lutzenkirchen both have in common. In my family, there is an absence of college graduates, and family members who pursue a higher education. I will strive to be the one who changes the culture of my family because I want my family to have a legacy that leads to generations down the line that have an even greater legacy. I desire to be an individual who people see as someone who is driven toward excellence. I want everyone to know that excellence isn’t perfection, it is multiple accounts of greatness that make one excellent.

The core values that I live by are loyalty, humility, and integrity, which have been embedded into my daily life and help keep me on a strict path. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn over the past year is resilience due to the traumatic loss of my baby sister, which happened on August 18, 2023. The day seemed normal until it turned for the worst, or so I thought. My sister suffered from a condition named H.I.E., and it affected her nervous system. She never got to cry, and she was paralyzed from the waist down. I was in my room, and heard what seemed to be yelling but as I focused on the noise someone was crying. My mom was yelling,” SHE ISN’T BREATHING!!,” which instantly changed my suspicions into reality. I ran over to my sister on the couch and looked into her eyes with immense shock. One tear fell, and the emergency services finally answered our calls. They were directing me to give her CPR to potentially bring her back to life, but with every breath that I blew into her, her body began to get cold, and she began to turn blue. A rush of tears began to flush down my face, and I felt my body going numb. Emergency services eventually came and they took over the scene, and I was forced to take a step back. Looking at the situation, felt like an out-of-body experience, and I felt like such a failure. After this situation, my relationship with God started to get shaky, and I started to participate in actions that didn’t represent who I was.

Through God, I will be starting a new journey to be the young man He wants me to be. A subject that I am excited about is teaching my peers about keeping themselves, and others safe on the road. Philip’s situation causes me not to be ignorant of the fact of how important it is to practice safe driving precautions. I understand that being on the road can be a very fun idea, but by practicing procedures like putting on your seatbelt, not texting while driving, and not driving under the influence, we are more prepared for danger. If we keep these procedures in mind, they will help us on the road by being safe, and ensuring that we will have a great driving experience.

To refer back to the lessons I have learned, I have been someone who rejects the idea of expressing how I feel, and also releasing emotions around people. I have been used to being closed off from others, and I have personally seen how isolating myself has impacted me. When I isolate myself, I leave myself alone with my thoughts, and I am the only one I can talk to. When I put myself in a position to let my feelings out, I find that it is the better situation because I have someone to share thoughts with who may have experienced what I have, or they can give you a different perspective on my situation. Don’t get me wrong, having time to yourself is a great way to get yourself together, and collect your thoughts. Resulting in isolation when your thoughts are clouding your brain will leave you alone to deal with them when you may not even know how to. Throughout life, there will be multiple experiences that will improve our ability to bounce back from rough times, and those rough times will teach us lessons that we will never forget. Finally, I want to appreciate the amazing individuals at Lutzie 43 for their kindness, gentleness, and generosity.