Brad Hemme's legacy grows stronger: two receive 2016 scholarship, will expand to three in 2017

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Truman Sleeper, of Alma, was the 2015 recipient of the Brad Hemme Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship, however, is not awarded until the recipient's sophomore year at a college or university of his or her choice. He received the award check for $1,000 at the the annual dinner and auction Saturday, Aug. 20. Sleeper is studying agriculture business at Northwest Missouri State University, in Maryville. (Ashley Elliott/The Concordian)

It was standing room only as friends, family, community members and donors congregated at the Waverly Community Center Saturday, Aug. 20, for the Fourth Annual Brad Hemme Memorial Scholarship Dinner and Auction.

Attendees had a fish fry and pulled pork dinner, followed by a silent and live auction, with items, materials and food for the dinner provided from more than 60 donors, including businesses in Kansas and Illinois. All proceeds from the event goes to the scholarship.

It is held to honor the memory of Brad Hemme, who passed away in 2012 after a drowning accident on the Missouri River. Hemme was raised in Alma, graduating from Santa Fe R-10 High School in 2001. He then pursued his secondary education at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, graduating in 2004.

As the event poster states, Hemme lived his life based on faith, family, friends and farming, and the scholarship strives to continue his legacy. According to Jen Lovercamp, Hemme's sister, the family and the organizing committee, largely made up of Hemme's friends, are expanding the scholarship to reach more students.

In 2017, the Hemme family and organizing committee plan to award three scholarships, including two $1,000 scholarships for Sante Fe R-10 High School seniors, and a new scholarship with Tri-Co Community Foundation, which will be awarded to one student, but will be available to high school students from other schools, such as Concordia R-2, Saint Paul Lutheran High School, Carrollton High School, Lafayette County C-1, Marshall High School, and Sweet Springs High School. As the fund builds, Lovercamp explained, the number of scholarships will increase, as well.

This year's scholarship was presented to two students pursuing agricultural-related programs in college, Dillon McVey and Abby Zitelman, both recent graduates of Santa Fe R-10 High School, of Alma. Last year's winner, Truman Sleeper, was also in attendance to receive his scholarship check, as the scholarship fund is distributed in the winner's second year of college. Sleeper is attending Northwest Missouri State University, in Maryville, focusing on accounting to pursue a degree in agriculture business.

Amanda Sims, a member of the organizing committee and a close friend of Hemme, said, "It really comes down to some really, really great communities, great businesses that have donated year after year. And it's not like we're knocking at their door anymore. They really step up and are ready to participate, so it helps it run really smoothly."

Steve Sims, another close friend and member of the organizing committee, said "The people who have donated always seem to donate."

The businesses and contributors provide nearly all the silent auction bid items, food, and monetary funds for whatever the organizing committee might need for the event, Mr. Sims explained.

"We keep pulling a couple more every year and it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger," he added.

The organizing committee and the Hemme family plan to continue and expand the Brad Hemme Scholarships to do even more for students in the area. According to Ms. Sims, their plans include "expanding to do several more scholarships, we've also talked about just having money to pitch in to do different things at the schools. There's always kids that need help and stuff to be done at the schools that we can do in Brad's name."

"We could have never envisioned how far we've come in four years," Ms. Sims said. "The amount of donations and the amount of people that come together really is a testament to his legacy."

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