Community Scholarship Foundation Preserves Soldier’s Memory

In its longstanding efforts to support local students, the Community Scholarship Foundation of La Cañada Flintridge also remains committed to preserving the memory of Army 2nd Lt. Todd Bryant. The La Cañada High School graduate was killed in 2003 by an explosion on the road between Fallujah and Baghdad in Iraq. He was 23. Since 2004, the foundation has featured the Lt. Todd Bryant Memorial Scholarship among those it distributes annually to recent graduates. This year, Crescenta Valley High School’s Tzanimir Borovski received the honor, accepting it along with eight other new scholarship winners and four renewal scholarship recipients in a ceremony at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “We love awarding scholarships because of the gratitude we see, the look in the eyes of the kids who receive them is incredible,” said Karen Mathison, president of the all-volunteer organization. “But then to be able to honor students with the memorial scholarship is just one step further. To be able to honor a local hero like Todd Bryant is very meaningful; we in the city should never forget his sacrifice.” Larry Bryant has regularly attended the annual scholarship ceremony, meeting the students who receive the memorial scholarship honoring his son. He presents them with a copy of “In a Time of War,” a book written by one of Todd’s best friends, Bill Murphy Jr., who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy alongside him. Larry Bryant said that after Todd’s death, people who knew him sought a positive way to support his memory. His family liked the idea of channeling that desire in a way that would benefit young people who, like, Todd, attended school in the area. “It just seemed like a natural choice [to team up with CSF] rather than us trying to find some other organization or trying to do it ourselves,” said Larry Bryant, a Riverside resident who works at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “And it’s good to meet the student who receives Todd’s scholarship. It’s a nice remembrance. Sometimes it brings back some painful memories, but at the same time, we can share some of the funny stories about Todd and what he was like and they can get to appreciate him.” After his death, Bryant was remembered as jovial, fun-loving and a great fan of In-N-Out. He’d been wed to Jenifer Reardon days before his deployment began. She said he envisioned becoming a high school football coach. To help local students fulfill their goals, whatever they might be, the Community Scholarship Foundation has for the past 54 years raised and distributed funds. At this year’s luncheon on June 3, LCF Mayor Terry Walker spoke to the awardees, encouraging them to measure themselves by their own standards as they pursue their passions. Borovski, who will attend Chapman University, intends to pursue a degree in business administration. Other recipients of the $4,000 scholarship included LCHS graduates Nicole Lewis, Kelly Phelan and Madeline Reilly; St. Francis High School’s Conrad Jensen and Spencer Zahabizadeh; and Hillside School and Learning Center’s Alison Kerstiens. LCHS graduates Megan Reilly and Riana Lui were among those who received scholarship renewals. For more information, visit – Mirjam Swanson