One month ago today, 18 year-old Fred Drew died of a gunshot wound to the chest in Florida.
According to his family and friends, this crime was the result of Fred stepping up for others:
Fred Drew sacrificed his life protecting friends from bullies. Fred was always a loving and happy soul, a protector, not afraid to stand up for what was right and always there to help others in need. He was well loved by all, he was a mentor, a leader and an integral part of his community.
Fred was born on April 16, 1993. He graduated from Citrus High School, class of 2011, where he excelled in several sports, including the wrestling team, varsity football team (team captain), and weightlifting where he attained all-state status. Fred was a true champion on and off the field. He was scheduled to receive a full wrestling scholarship from Bloomsburg University. He was also being considered by the United States Navy for their Navy Seal Program. Raised in the Episcopal faith, he was a member of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Inverness, Florida where he served as an acolyte.
This happened only 30 days ago. His family must be reeling with grief. They deserve our love and support.
Fred’s cousin and godfather, Rodney Briguglio, shared with me the pain that their entire family is experiencing. What a loss. He also told me that how in the middle of your darkest moment, what a difference simple kindnesses can make and how, sometimes, it’s the most unexpected people who step up and give you hope.
Rodney decided very quickly after the tragedy to establish a charity to help the victims of bullying and their families:
Two days after Fred’s death I decided to take action and start the Frederick P Drew Memorial Fund Inc. to honor his name and heroics.
I applied for the non-profit that day, within two weeks I had received all of the documents from the lawyers and was incorporated as a non-profit. Now I had the task of choosing the best bank to hold the funds. I have been doing business with Wells Fargo for years so I decided to use them. When I arrived at the bank I was greeted at the door by a customer service representative and asked how she could be of assistance, I explained my reason for being there and she escorted me to a waiting area.
Within a minute licenced personal banker Paul Schild greeted me and led me to his desk to open the account. I explained what had happened to my cousin and how I had decided to start the foundation against bullying. Paul listened closely and was sincerely moved and empathetic to my situation. He also commended me on taking action so quickly and turning our families sadness into someting positive that will benefit other families victimized by bullying.
After filling out all of the necessarily documents I handed Paul my first donation check of $25.00 to open the account. He took the check and went to the teller line to deposit the money. Upon returning to his desk he handed me the receipt and said “I personally matched the $25.00 donation so your account balance is $50.00. I was speechless. Acts of Random Kindness like this are practically unheard of these days. I was so touched that someone would give so selflessly and take a personal interest in his customer. It’s nice to know that I chose the right bank and that people like Paul Schild are still out there going above and beyond.
Paul stepped up. He had no idea that Rodney would tell me that story or that he would be getting any attention at all. He just knew that Rodney and his family needed to know people are listening, caring and feeling their loss.
I’ve also never heard of a charity raising money to help bullied kids get the counseling they need. Stepping up for bullied kids in this way is a worthy cause and will truly be honoring an upstander. Peace to you, Fred, and to your loving family.