A Letter from Mike Lutzenkirchen
Thank you to Mike Lutzenkirchen for writing this post.
Dear Lutzie 43 Foundation family,
On behalf of Mary, Amy & Bobby, Ann, Abby and our board, I want to express our best wishes during the upcoming holiday season. We appreciate your support and look forward to sharing many more incredible results and experiences in the future.
I am repeatedly asked several questions”
“Does speaking and sharing Philip with others bring you peace?”
“Why do you put yourself out there sharing Philip’s story?”
“How long do you plan on running the Lutzie 43 Foundation?”
“How many talks have you delivered? How many people have heard your talk? How many scholarships have you given out?”
The simple answer to many of these is ‘yes, to do my best to ensure other parents never find themselves in my shoes… until no one wanted to hear an old man share lessons and challenges based on Philip’s life or we don’t feel we are making a difference.’ Simple replies to the main questions.
We’re proud that 170,000+ people have heard our talk. We’ve distributed 5,000+ copies of our 43 Lessons to Legacy character development curriculum and working to digitalize the curriculum. Sixteen high school and/or college students have been awarded our $4,300 PFL (Prepare for Life) character scholarship and 1,200 + Elementary School Adapted PE students have attended out Field Days. But…
It’s a question received this summer, by a high school junior, when speaking to 350+ kids at a camp that brought tears and took what seemed like two minutes to answer:
“Do you have fun working on the Lutzie 43 Foundation?”
Yes, I have fun when I see elementary school age special needs students with Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Autism and other challenges smiling, laughing and having fun at our Adapted PE Field Days.
I have fun, smile and tear up seeing their teachers being recognized for the incredible love and patience they bring each day to work to ensure these special kids are cared for.
I have fun seeing or knowing that 1,000+ friends and supporters come together the first Saturday each August to support and have fellowship at our Lutzie 43 Foundation 5K Road Race, and when we receive pictures of runners in Birmingham, Miami, Indianapolis, Chicago and many other cities.
I have fun when our PFL Scholarship winners are chosen by our board, when the winners receive the communication they have been awarded a scholarship and when several take the stage at our Lutzie 43 Golf Invitational to share with our audience.
I have fun seeing our golfers and supporters laugh during our “fireside chat Q&A” as sports media guests hosts the Q&A with Gus and other celebrity coaches/ guests.
It’s fun to see Philip’s fans wearing his Auburn 43 Jersey at Jordan-Hare and away stadiums.
I have fun watching the Auburn women and men competing in the ATO Fraternity 7 on 7 flag football tournament and runners participate in the Tri Delta sorority 5K during our Lutzie 43 Foundation “Auburn Weekend“.
It’s fun to watch six finalists each semester deliver three minute speeches in front of an audience of 500+ students with judges choosing the winner during the Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award hosted by Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism, and seeing the reaction of the winner who receives a $4,300 award.
But JOY and confirmation are my emotions when we receive the following via Facebook or email:
“I’m not sure who runs this account but I would like for the Lutzenkirchen’s to see this message.
One week ago I was hit on my driver side door while I was crossing an intersection in Auburn, my car flipped twice and landed upside down, thankfully I was wearing my seatbelt and was held tightly in my seat, saving me from being ejected from the car. I did not suffer any injuries but my car was completely totaled. When we went to retrieve my belongings out of my car the next day, I found my Lutzie 43 bracelet in my car everyday since purchased it and I always remember to wear my seatbelt no matter what seat I am in because of it. I met Philip once at the 2013 Iron Bowl, he was my favorite Auburn Football player. Thank you for what you guys are doing and War Eagle!”
Without your tremendous and enduring support Philip’s bracelet would not be a constant reminder to wear a seatbelt. Or out 43 Key Seconds initiative with out key, lanyard and countdown card would have no chance of becoming the nationally recognized symbol that is going to change the narrative on avoidable accidents and fatalities over the next two years.
Fun and joy are two words my family and I once thought could never be associated with our loss of Philip, but that now touch our lives each and every day because of Philip. There are tears most days not having Philip with us, but because of your friendship and belief in the fact that Philip is working… we smile!
May the New Year bring you and your family health and happiness!