You’ve all helped us to ensure that Wyatt Spencer lives on

To the Editor:

I am writing to you today with a grateful heart as the chairwoman of the J. Wyatt Spencer Memorial Scholarship Fund. We held our seventh and final golf tournament this past Saturday at the bucolic Colonie Golf and Country Club.

With the outstanding support and generosity of this amazing Hilltown community, we raised $9,500!  I think we’ll call that going out on a win!  We have been working diligently at this fundraising for seven years now.

The intention has always been that Wyatt’s “band of brothers” would at some point take over the administration of this fund. They are all now at a point where they are either graduating with their four-year degrees or establishing themselves in careers.

To be honest, it is a ton of work and after seven years, we (and probably all our supporters!) need a bit of a break. We are not abandoning the scholarship as a committee, and we will certainly show the boys the ropes, but for the next couple of years we are taking a bit of a hiatus.

I’m not sure what permutation we will return in, but for sure, you haven’t heard the last of us! We are already thinking about an “appreciation” pig-roast (or something like that) for next year. Maybe we will actually get to talk to our golfers and donors and have time to get to know them better!

I feel, at this point, we have really honored Wyatt and have given the “brothers” firm financial footing for continuation of this award. With the help of this fantastically generous community, we have plenty of capital in the bank to extend the scholarship for quite a few years. We’ll see where it goes from here.

I will miss the connections to the community in the Hilltowns and the fellowship with our golfers and dinner guests and the absolute joy seen in Bonnie’s face each year as we come together to celebrate Wyatt’s life and impact.

What I know for sure, however, is that that joy will still be there in June of each year when we help more and more deserving Berne-Knox-Westerlo students get off to a great start in their continued education because of this very exceptional young man.

The whole gist of the tournament, the scholarship, and the award has always been about friendship — that remains unbroken. This community has helped our hearts mend.

They say that, if someone’s name is still on another’s lips, they are never truly gone. You’ve all helped us to ensure that Wyatt Spencer lives on.

“Thank-you” is so inadequate a phrase to describe our deeply heartfelt gratitude to all those who have stood by us and supported us. We will be back better and stronger and, perhaps most importantly, rested!  Bless you all for all that you’ve done for us!

Kelley R. Hess, chairwoman

The J. Wyatt Spencer

Memorial Scholarship Fund

Editor’s note: In 2009, James Wyatt Spencer, a 13-year-old Berne-Knox-Westerlo student, was killed in a utility-vehicle accident. He would have graduated in 2014 with his “band of brothers.” Wyatt shared his father’s love of golf and, for the last seven years, a tournament has been held to raise funds for a BKW scholarship in his name.