Trey Erwin Memorial Scholarships

After Trey passed away, Jay and I decided that we wanted to give back to the community and school that gave so much to us during the time that Trey was sick.  We decided to first set up the Trey Erwin Memorial Football Scholarship that would go to a senior football player in the amount of $1,300 since Trey’s number was 13.  Then, we decided to grant another scholarship in the spring to not slight anyone who was not a football player.  We wanted to give those with leadership and character an opportunity to tell us how Trey had impacted their lives.  We have given two graduating classes leadership/character scholarships and two graduating football scholarships.

The first scholarships went to his graduating class.  The football scholarship was awarded to Mitch Owens.  I love this boy and so proud that he calls me Mama Lisa and we keep up with each other.  It was very hard to select the leadership/character scholarship recipients from his graduating class.  The applications are read by family, “his girls” including Julianne, and two coworkers who do not know the applicants.  They are narrowed down without knowing the opinion from me or Jay.  It is amazing to see how God chooses the recipients.  Last year we awarded three, Hunter Byer, Caroline Hardy, and Madison Luna at $1,000 each.  All three were very close to Trey.  Trey would be proud.

I tell you all of this to let you know that your purchase of A Mighty Dragon on Amazon goes toward the funding of these scholarships.  My prayer is that we will be able to continue these scholarships in memory of Trey.  It is rewarding to see how God has impacted these students and I wanted to share this year’s recipient’s applications with you.  Erica Haskett was awarded the Trey Erwin Memorial Scholarship for leadership/character and Drew Van de Vuurst was awarded the Trey Erwin Memorial Football Scholarship.

There is also a Trey Erwin Football Award voted on by the football team and the coaches.  It is much like the Heisman.  The large trophy stays at Collierville High School, but the football player receives a smaller version of the trophy.  Trey’s graduating year, Corbin Peeper was awarded the Trey Erwin Award and this year Drew Van de Vuurst received the award. What an honor!  THESE ARE MY BOYS! Corbin was a pallbearer at Trey’s funeral and Drew has played football with Trey since they were first able to wear helmets!  They know their hugs make my day.  I told the crowd at the football banquet, when we were walking in to register for Collin’s freshman year of high school, Drew was walking out and he said Hi Ms. Lisa, gave me a hug, and high-fived Collin with a bro-hug.  Then they began to talk.  I teared up because I knew then with Collin walking into what was a school filled with Trey, Collin was going to be just fine.  His brothers had his back.  Much like the community had Trey’s.

So please, buy A Mighty Dragon, pay it forward, and support the Trey Erwin Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Enjoy these wonderful essays.

Trey Erwin Memorial Scholarship

Erica Haskett

When I was in sixth grade, the church I had attended my whole life was planning a mission trip down to Gulf Port, Mississippi. My best friend, Andrea, invited me to go with her, so I signed up. I had never been on a mission trip before, or even on any kind of church trip in general and I was pretty nervous. At the time I was only thirteen, so I was just beginning my decent into adulthood and the confusion inside my head was very much so translating into confusion in every aspect of my life. I believed that God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, but I didn’t give it much thought at all nor did I read the bible or attend church regularly. With nervousness and thoughts of just a fun trip with my best friend and a few others, I packed my bags and loaded the bus. The trip wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but then again I’m not really sure what I was expecting. We helped out with V135 at this church, which was a lot of fun because I had never done anything like it before. We also went door to door telling people about Jesus and inviting them to attend the Sunday service, where my church’s youth choir called Under Authority, that I had joined (again because Andrea invited me to), was going to perform. It was an interesting trip, but it got more interesting to me on the bus ride home.

I was sitting in the back with Andrea and after we stopped at a rest stop about halfway through the trip, this guy was sitting back there with us too. I was very nervous to have a guy in my presence because I didn’t talk to guys ever. I had no guy friends, wasn’t interested in dating anyone, and was just in general very shy about the topic. So here this guy a year older than me with blue braces and long, flowing blonde hair is sitting next to me. Andrea introduced us and they began talking with a few other people around us. I felt very awkward and out of place and ready to be home, but something felt different about this guy. His name was Trey and he was very much so a Christian. I hadn’t heard anybody talk or think about God the way he did in my entire life. After a little while of generally avoiding talking to him, we struck up a conversation about music because I had taken liberty to avoid him by putting my headphones in. Seeing as I was not very religious, I was listening to this rapper called Lil’ Wayne. He was my favorite artist because he had a cool voice and my older brother liked him a lot. I told Trey who I was listening to and he just looked utterly repulsed. I explained to him why I liked Lil’ Wayne so much, and he replied that he hated Lil’ Wayne. I was shocked. I didn’t understand why he hated such a popular rapper. He replied that the messages conveyed in Wayne’s songs were gross and only talked about women in a demoralizing and sexual way and this was not what God said to do, so he couldn’t stand to listen to it. I didn’t think that this mattered and why did God create Lil’ Wayne and then not want me to listen to his music? But something just didn’t feel right after hearing that the provocative music I had been listening to for quite some time now was not what God intended for Christians to be listening to. I couldn’t shake this feeling that there was something special about this guy Trey and that he knew what he was going to do with his life and who he was going to follow, and it was inspiring. Still, I wasn’t sure how to go about having a relationship with God.

About four years later, I was a freshman at Collierville High School beginning another confusing faze of my life, when I was this guy in the cafeteria who looked very familiar. I had changed in four years, but still had not really found God. I didn’t remember who this guy was, but couldn’t shake the feeling that I somehow knew him. Then a few months into that school year, word came out that a student had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. His name was Trey Erwin. That’s when it hit me. The guy in the cafeteria, was the guy I had spoken to a few years before about my love and his hate for Lil’ Wayne. I was speechless because he knew God like no other person I had ever met before, yet God gave him this deadly disease at age fifteen. What kind of a God would do that? I was angry and upset for this kid I had only ever spoken to once. Then I started hearing more stories about his cancer and how he was dealing with it, by spreading the love of God. It just didn’t make sense to me. He loved God so much, yet God was going to take him home way to soon, and he was okay with it? How can a person be okay with dying when they haven’t even lived yet? My heart was broken for this kid, but his heart wasn’t even though he was the one that had been given a death sentence. As his condition worsened, his faith seemed to grow, and I decided it was time I stopped and listened, I just wasn’t sure how to do that. A friend I had from middle school randomly invited me to attend her youth grow one Sunday morning at the Orchard Fellowship, and I found God there. I began to understand what Trey knew and why he felt so safe and comforted even though he was going to die. Even though the only things I knew about Trey were that he hated Lil’ Wayne and loved God and I only spoke to him that one time, he saved my life by showing me the light of God when I didn’t know the confusion in my own life was because I was stumbling around in the dark. Now I’m filled with the knowledge and love of God and have gained the confidence to tell others of God’s love and help lead them to God just as Trey did. For this I will be eternally grateful and I will always thank God for that one simple, random conversation I had with the guy with blue braces and long, flowing blonde hair in sixth grade.

Trey Erwin Memorial Football Scholarship

Drew Van de Vuurst

Growing up, I spent many of my falls playing CYAA Football with a lot of the seniors from the class of 2014. I also played on the same team as Trey. I guess you could say I knew him pretty well after the many practices and games that season; I spent every snap at quarterback under Trey, our center.

During my freshman year after the football season ended, I spent countless hours working out with my new brothers on the varsity football team. They were family to me. Once I found out about Trey I immediately wanted to help in some way. I told my AAU basketball coach, and he was able to help me put on a 3 on 3 basketball tournament to help raise money for the Erwin family.  One thing I took away from Trey and the rest of the senior class is to play every play like it’s your last because you never know when it will end. I took that mindset into every practice and game I played in. They showed me what true leadership is like and how a real family should be. Every single one of us loved each other, and we had each other’s backs through anything. We were much more than just a bunch of jocks on the football field. We were inseparable brothers, and it was an absolute blessing to play with these men. I truly believe that because of Trey and the senior class of 2014, I am a better man, a better leader, and an improved follower of Jesus Christ.

This is a picture of Drew at quarterback and Trey playing center when they played for the CYAA Raiders.


Hawaiian Paradise

Paradise.  What is your paradise? To some it is a mountain home overlooking the vastness of God’s beauty with a stream flowing below.  To others, like me, it’s the calm winds of an ocean breeze with the palm trees swaying slowly with sun beaming down.  Three years ago today we were headed to that paradise, Hawaii.  It was Trey’s paradise.  That was the first thing he put on Twitter when we arrived at the hotel, “Just arrived in paradise.”

When we were in Hawaii, it was also Mother’s Day.  I remember waking up that morning with an envelope next to my bed. “Mom” I opened it to find a notebook piece of paper that said, “Happy Mother’s Day, I love you thisssss much! Trey”.  He enclosed a picture of the two of us from the Orange and White game when we were in Knoxville just a couple of weeks prior.  That note and picture is taped to my bathroom mirror.  I see it every day, multiple times a day.

I can’t help but think about how he is experiencing his paradise with Jesus.  I want to believe that there are beaches in heaven.  I want to believe that he is not thin and his body is restored so that he can soak up the rays of light that Jesus gives.  When he had cancer, the sun was not his friend.  He only burned.  I want to believe that the light is no longer blinding his eyes and he can see all that God has that a beach paradise offers.  I know what the bible says, so I know God is loving on my boy.

Our paradise wasn’t exactly what we had hoped.  Trey couldn’t get in the water because he was too sick and had no strength.  He had fallen in the suite and had burns on his arms and legs, so the sun really hurt his skin.  The pool water was so very cold for him.  But one thing I’ll always cherish was waking up and looking up at this tall, skinny kid looming over me at 6 to 7 a.m. saying, “Come on Mom, let’s go eat breakfast!” We did, after I came down off the ceiling.  He loved the way the hotel fixed the oatmeal and it was one thing he could tolerate, sometimes.

It seemed every time we got on the elevator the song Somewhere Over The Rainbow was playing by the artist IZ.  Trey loved that rendition and downloaded it on his phone.  I almost had it played at his celebration, but for me, I would not have been able to handle it.

It will always seem like yesterday, and for me, it was.  Children are growing up, getting married, going off to college, coming home from college, going into high school, and mine is still 15, reminiscing of his Hawaiian paradise.  There are days that I sink to the floor in tears with grief because it hits me so hard.  And honestly, I’m trying to reel in a little “unfairness” towards Collin too. Grief really messes you up!

We are going back to Hawaii in about 30 days.  We are staying at the same hotel, same floor.  Yes, it will be emotional, but it will be paradise.  All I that comes to mind is the scripture from Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  I think Trey is experiencing that glory which is much better than the paradise he thought was Hawaii.

Mother’s Day is always bittersweet.  I still have my own mother with me, but I’m without one of my own children.  I will enjoy Mother’s Day with my Collin, but in the meantime, I will be praying that he is enjoying paradise with Jesus and knows his mama loves him thisssss much.