Scholarships awarded to family members of fallen Utah law enforcement officers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah State Park Ranger who was shot multiple times awarded out scholarships to children of police officers who were wounded or killed in the line of duty.
Brody Young was working as a state park ranger in Moab when he was shot nine times in 2010 during a traffic stop.
After a lengthy recovering, Young has become a motivational speaker of sorts. At a meeting in downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon, he was awarding scholarships in his name.
“It’s kind of embarrassing to have a scholarship in your name,” he told the crowd of about 40 people.
Four people were getting the scholarships to continue and further their education.
“It definitely helps out a lot. Every penny helps,” said Gunner Francom, who was going to Utah State University to study mathematics and statistics.
Gunner’s brother, Benjamin, was also getting a scholarship.
“To have a whole semester almost paid for is awesome,” said Benjamin.
As exciting as it was to get these scholarships, though, not everyone can get one. Most would trade it back to have one more day with the person that made them eligible for the scholarship.
In order to qualify, the recipient has to be a family member of a Utah law enforcement officer who was either wounded or killed in the line of duty.
The Francom brothers older brother, Jared, was an officer with the Ogden Police Department who was shot several times and killed during a drug raid in January 2012.
“I think about him all the time,” said Gunner. “It’s still always just kind of a constant thing in our lives, and it’s not always sad and depressing. He was always a funny, sarcastic person.”
Benjamin Francom was at the meeting in his own police uniform.
He works for Salt Lake City Airport Police, and was going to school at Weber State University, to get his degree in hopes of possibly becoming a federal law enforcement officer one day.
Even after what happened to his brother.
“I think about my brother a lot, because every time I’m addressed as Officer Francom, I think they’re not talking to me,” said Benjamin. “My mom understands what the community is worth and what the world is worth and where the world is headed and you need good police officers to do a job not a lot of people want to do these days.”
Money for the scholarships, $2000 each, came from the annual Fallen Peace Officer Memorial Trial Ride in Moab.
The event was put on by the Utah Peace Officers Association.
Besides the Francoms, two others scholarships were awarded to family members of Utah law enforcement officers.
James Lepley, the son of injured Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Alex Lepley, received one.
So did Tyler Orr, the son of Uintah County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kevin Orr, who died in a helicopter crash in 2006 during a search and rescue mission.