By Stephanie McKinley
To his friends and family, Aaron Shoemaker ’03 had a huge impact in the 23 short years he was on this earth.
Shoemaker, who died in 2004 at age 23 in a professional snowboarding accident, was what Dave Smith ’03 called a connector — someone who brought others together.
|Video: One of Aaron's friends holds the camera while Aaron does an impression of his favorite dinosaur.|
Now, in his memory, Shoemaker’s friends and brother have become connectors, bringing people together to provide opportunities for students from Erie County, N.Y.
In a little more than two years, his friends were able to work with community members and surpass their goal of raising $25,000. The Aaron Shoemaker Scholarship endowment is currently worth more than $37,000.
"Through Aaron, I met the best friends of my life and had some of the best times of my life," Smith said.
Aaron’s brother, Colin ’10, had a similar experience.
“I’m lucky to have had a brother like that. Because of Aaron, I got to know Dave and all of these other people," Colin said.
Jim Leary ’03, another of Aaron’s many college friends, had the idea of starting the scholarship, according to Smith. Smith was happy to take up the cause and turned to Paul Leduc, associate director for development at the college.
Smith said that Leduc and the college made it easy to put a scholarship together.
“I didn’t know Aaron,” Leduc said. “However, if it is true that you can be judged by the company you keep, he was an amazing young man. His friends rallied like I have never seen before to make this scholarship a reality.”
“The scholarship will help a lot of people over the years. I’m glad we did it,” Smith said.
Danielle Koontz of Williamsville, N.Y, is the first. The freshman in SUNY Plattsburgh’s physics program is grateful for the scholarship and those who put it together.
“I would just like to say thank you to all of those who funded this,” she said.
To give to the Aaron Schoemaker Scholarship or to the college in general visit www.plattsburgh.edu/makeagift.
For more information about the SUNY Plattsburgh alumni newsletter, please contact:
Michelle Marasch Ouellette
Director of Public Relations and Publications
Phone: (518) 564-3095
Alumni can subscribe to Calling Card by joining the Plattsburgh Alumni Community (PAC).