A Passion for Life and Other People
New Scholarship Honors the Spirit of Andrew Wilcox
Sitting in a U.S. Army recruiter’s office, Sara Wilcox watched her son, a teenager at the time, struggle with the big decision ahead of him.
It wasn’t whether to join the military—he was already sold on the idea especially because it connected him to a meaningful cause. It was which military job to choose. If he could have, Andrew Wilcox would have tried to master all of them.
“He was a little overwhelmed,” Sara said. “His goal, genuinely, right out of the gate was: ‘I want to do all of them.’ He wanted to learn as much as he could about as much as he could.”
Looking at his accomplishments, he came about as close as anybody could have.
For his Eagle Scout project at age 17, he raised over $2,000, earning the nickname “Candy Man” for his year-long candy bar fundraising efforts. He then did his research, engaging a conservation expert and a biologist, and organized the manpower to build an observation deck, bridge, and outdoor classroom at a local wetlands area. After graduating from Greater Johnstown, he served in the Army, including a one-year deployment, quickly earning a reputation as a bright mind and willing worker from superiors and fellow soldiers. He traveled the world pursuing the thrill of discovering new places (he once visited nine countries in five weeks), meeting up with the friends he made wherever he went, or catching music festivals. By his late 20s, he’d moved to Denver to pursue a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, aiming to fly even higher as an astronaut one day.
“He was definitely intrinsically motivated,” Sara said. “He had a thirst for knowledge. It could be in the form of reading or adventure and traveling. It could be a classroom. He just always wanted to know more.”
He had a thirst for knowledge. It could be in the form of reading or adventure and traveling. It could be a classroom. He just always wanted to know more.
When he lost his battle to cancer this year at age 28, his family wanted to honor his generosity, spirit of curiosity, and drive to learn, so they established the Andrew Wilcox Memorial Scholarship Fund at CFA.
The scholarship will provide an award to students from Greater Johnstown School District who share and pursue similar passions, and especially those who show they are eager to help others through their actions. Their willingness to volunteer, uplift others, and step into leadership roles will be more important than academic marks, she said.
“It’s important to me that the individual gives back in some way: through church, school, or the community,” Sara said. “The student should be someone who genuinely wants to help and someone who is inspiring others. Andrew saw people’s strengths and tried to encourage them. He actively worked to help people grow, and he was a good leader because he was not afraid to learn. He was okay with saying, ‘I’m not sure, but let’s figure it out together.'”
This scholarship award will be given to the student who exemplifies a passion for life and for people—values that Andrew demonstrated every day.
Donations to the fund in Andrew’s memory can be made by CLICKING HERE.