Meet Kirkland Bradford, a 2023 PFL Scholarship Winner
I met Philip Lutzenkirchen in 2011 at an Auburn fan day event. Although I was only six years old, I remember the kindness he showed to my brother and me as we approached his table and he autographed my football and took a photo with us. I was instantly a Philip Lutzenkirchen fan and that #43 jersey was immediately on my Christmas wish list.
Although he never knew me beyond that kid who wore his jersey and loved to give high-fives, he made a true difference in my life. The difference came after the fatal accident in 2014. I was nine years old and I can still remember my parents explaining the accident and his death. It provided our family an opportunity to begin discussions about choices, responsibility, and safety.
I met Mr. Mike Lutzenkirchen at an Auburn A-Day spring game. He was walking the sidelines and I stopped him to let him know I was a huge fan of his son and sorry for his loss. He was very kind and gracious. Since that time, I have had numerous opportunities to hear Mr. Lutzenkirchen speak at my school, awards banquets, and in my community. I have the 43 Key Seconds key on my keychain to serves as a daily reminder to drive safely.
The kindness expressed by both Philip and his father has had the greatest impact on my life. The kindness Philip exhibited the first time we met reminds me to be kind to others, especially children who may be looking up to me. I have had the opportunity to mentor two kindergarten students through my school’s Patriot Pal program and serve as an elementary school aid for physical education class. These opportunities have allowed me to develop meaningful relationships with young children and serve as a role model. The kindness Mr. Lutzenkirchen continues to express following the loss of his son is exemplary. I have learned so much just watching him over the years. He is always happy to talk to people and willing to share his family’s story in an effort to prevent others from suffering a similar loss. I find this unselfish kindness a characteristic to emulate.
Mr. Lutzenkirchen has a mission to educate youth about the dangers and consequences associated with distracted, impaired and unsafe driving. He has encouraged me to practice safe driving by wearing my seatbelt, being aware of my surroundings, and focusing on driving while in the driver’s seat. I have also chosen to live a clean life and make sure my friends know I am available for a safe ride home.
As a Christian, my relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important relationship in my life. I enjoy studying the Bible and learning more about compassion, forgiveness, and my purpose in life. I have a strong desire to lead others in the ways that Christ led. He has provided the greatest example of leadership and I seek to follow Him and model His behavior through service. The Lutzenkirchen men have each exhibited tremendous compassion and kindness to others and I am hopeful I can mimic their behavior. I highly regard the Lutzenkirchen family and am so honored to be a recipient of the Prepared for Life (PFL) Scholarship from the Lutzie 43 Foundation. I have admired Philip since I first met him when I was six. His kindness that day made him an instant hero of a kindergartener. I have tremendous respect for Mr. Lutzenkirchen and his family. Philip’s legacy, through my memory as well as the presentations and personal conversations with Mr. Lutzenkirchen, has played a significant role throughout my teenage years