Recipient Stories

Congratulations Victoria!

Applause to Victoria, who has earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in June. When Victoria was thirteen, she was awakened to learn that her mother was a victim of domestic violence homicide. Sadly, she and her three siblings were unable to stay together since that time, and have had long distance relationships to stay connected. She has been a big sister and mother to her younger siblings and has managed to complete her education in five years and hold down as many as three jobs at a time. Your donations and support made possible Victoria’s academic success. She continues to work three jobs and is interviewing for professional employment. We are so proud of you, Victoria!

Congratulations Aleena!

We applaud Aleena who has earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing on May 6 from UCF. As a result of her outstanding commitment to academics and hard work she has been offered a position as a Pediatric Nurse as soon as she passes her state boards and is licensed.

A few days before Christmas 2014 Aleena’s dad, Charlie Kondek, was shot and killed while responding to a nuisance call. A fugitive fired multiple rounds at her dad, striking him once above his bullet-proof vest. She said, “My dad loved Christmas and his excitement would fill the house every year as he played Christmas carols and announced that Santa had come.” Christmas was unbearable, but they decided to open their Christmas gift knowing that the gifts would be the last from her dad. Aleena was 15 and the youngest of 6 children. Aleena believes her mother is the strongest woman she has ever known.

Aleena shared with me that she was living life like her dad would have wanted. “I can still hear him in my head just saying, ‘Keep going, don’t let this get to you.’ Everything I do, it’s for him,” she said. While in school, Aleena worked at the university’s police department while completing her degree. She will soon be employed in one of Florida’s top hospitals. We are so proud of you!

Aleena and her mother with UCF campus police.

Congratulations Blake!

Blake earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering and during Covid was blessed with securing employment with a small company. Blake wrote, “My family and I greatly appreciate your generosity and hope to meet you.” He expressed his thanks to everyone who contributes and volunteers with the Foundation. Blake and his mother hope to attend the 2021 annual Wine & Cheese Tasting to personally thank everyone.

When Blake was 5 years old, his dad a sheriff’s deputy was called to investigate a meth lab the day after Thanksgiving and was shot and killed when he entered the lab. He witnessed firsthand the devastating impact drugs have on communities and overcome the hardship of losing his dad at a young age to homicide. In the face of this tragedy, Blake’s mother had to deal with her grief that of her boys and support her family.

Excerpt from his essay, “As a member of Concerns of Police Survivors, I help families and friends of officers killed in the Line of Duty cope and deal their loss. I am also proud of overcoming the personal hardship of losing my Dad at a young age. My counselor from church has helped me grieve by reminding me of the big picture. My time can be better spent on helping others and bettering myself than staying in the past. What happened to my Dad will help me in my career by encouraging me to seek a, I am passionate about, and by always reminding me to keep good morals.”

Congratulations Paul!

When Paul was in the third grade, he lost his older brother, Anthony to homicide. Paul shared that he learned to be grateful of everything and everyone in his life and realized it could change in minutes. Anthony took Paul hunting and spent time with him outdoors. He was Paul’s role model and connection that inspired Paul’s passion for wildlife motivated him to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In his essay Paul shared, “I feel that pursuing this degree will assist me to continuously be connected to nature as well as my brother.” This scholarship is important to me because would be an honor to expand my education on behalf of Peyton and is very important to me because it exists to represent a special life and important life, just like my brother’s.

Paul accomplished his dream through counseling and support to system to talk about thoughts and feelings and look ahead to earn his degree. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and majored Forest Wildlife Law Enforcement in August. He is ready to serve and protect our resources.

Congrats Daniel!

The Foundation is proud to announce another graduation of one of our recipients, Daniel, from FSU. Thank you to all of our volunteers sponsors, and donors for your support. His degree is in engineering and he starts his new job in June.

Daniel lost his mother to violence. We are so proud of what he has accomplished: working, school and helping with younger siblings. He has shared that once he settles in his career, he will pay it forward and support the foundation.

Daniel spoke at the Diamond Anniversary Event on September 26, 2019.

“Thank you for everything you have done for me and my brother in what has been by far the roughest years of our lives. So thank you for being there for us and being like a godmother. It has really made me feel loved and appreciated to hear from you and see you at events. I can’t thank you enough. May God bless you and your organization. You are so loved and are so very loving.

Much Love, Daniel”



Amber lost her father when someone entered his business early in the morning and robbed him. Two years later en route to court hearing with her mother someone struck their car and overturned it. Then a few months later at Christmas time someone burglarized their home. She has been a source of strength for her mother and little brother. Her passion is law and she will graduate in 2019 with a law degree. During college and law school she has volunteered and promoted victim advocacy. She is preparing for the bar exam, and her hope is to be a prosecutor.

o Amber’s scholarship is given in memory of the brother of Mr. Dan Levey, Director of the Office of Victims of Crime for the Arizona Attorney General Office. His brother, Howard, was murdered in Phoenix by assailants as he was waiting for his friends to show up for their weekly basketball game.

“Ms. Tuthill thank you for the compassion, thoughts and kind words. My dad was always there for me and now I can never see him again. Parents are the foundation of a child’s life. From birth to adolescence and even throughout adulthood, parents hold a vital role. My dad was my best friend, my hero, my definition of a true parent. He spent his entire life making sure that my siblings and I would be given a promising future with many opportunities and freedom. He gave us faith, advice, and courage that helped us survive even our toughest times. I graduated a year early from high school with the highest honors, which was the last present I could ever give to my dad.”


Samantha became a co-victim when she lost her mother in a domestic violence tragedy.

“My mom was the strongest woman I’ve ever met. She taught me a lot of life, especially the importance of education since she never went to college and led her to depend on my step-father who abused her. She finally saved enough money to leave, but he killed her the night before and may live has never been the same without her love and encouragement every day.”

“Receiving this scholarship helps me reach my goal to have a college education to make my mom proud of me without it the financial reality is an obstacle. I love little kids and want to inspire them the same way my mom inspired me and allowed me to believe in myself.”


Megan lost her brother, Anthony. He was stabbed by another youth in high school parking lot as he was leaving school. The medical responders and nurses influenced Megan’s decision to become a registered nurse.

Megan’s scholarship is given in memory of Dr. Paul S. Jarrett, M.D., who was killed on July 16, 2003 in Miami. Aleta Jarret Cortinas, his daughter, is a nurse and lives in Tallahassee. She is an active member of the Big Bend Victim Assistance Coalition helping local crime victims.


When Ryenne was 10 years old, she lost her brother, Jami, to homicide on Mother’s Day in 2003. She has worked to find life again and sees life as an opportunity to become someone and change something about one’s self. She attended a College for Arts & Design.

Ryenne’s scholarship is given in memory of Mr. Gregg A. Jarrett, R.N., who was killed July 16, 2003 in Miami, FL. Aleta Cortinas, sister of Gregg Jarrett, attended the 2011 POMC conference to become more involved in understanding sibling grief.


Taryn’s sister, Megan, was abducted at age 6 in 1995. Taryn attended university in Arkansas.

Taryn’s scholarship is given in memory of my friend Elise Geise, who was abducted in Atlanta, Georgia in 1989 a week before her wedding.


Eliseo’s family owned a neighborhood grocery in the Bronx. At the age of 4, his father was robbed and murdered outside the family grocery store and eventually Eliseo was abandoned by his mother as she struggled to survive.

“The scholarship has helped me stabilize my living situation, be consistent with my grades and serve as the AmeriCorps Service Club President.”


Lauren lives in Ohio, and her young life drastically changed on Feb. 3rd at bedtime, when the family received a call from the Phoenix police to say her father had been murdered as he was carjacked. He was going to start a new job as an international booking director for the Harlem Globetrotters.

“This was the saddest day in my life and this doesn’t happen in real life to good people like my Dad. Something inside all of us was killed.”

One of Lauren’s favorite quotes is from Mother Theresa: “Death is not the most tragic loss in life. The most tragic loss is what dies inside you while you are still alive.”


Jessica’s mother was killed, and the crime remains unsolved. Jessica is an only child and sole survivor. Through assistance and guidance from her university victim advocate, she was connected to community resources. Jessica graduated and is now employed in the banking industry.

Her scholarship is given in memory of Pat Reed, who was killed on March 23, 1998, by a young man who she had agreed to try and help with his addiction. Her son Christopher Reed was 6 years old and was also killed. Pat’s mother, Agnes Fury, believes that the combination of rage from an early age and crack cocaine contributed to this tragedy. Agnes is committed to trying to make a difference in the lives of very young men and boys, as well as incarcerated men to reduce the level of violence that changes so many lives.


Alexandra was a freshman in college when she lost her father to workplace violence. Alexandra quilts, and she donated one of her quilts and handmade stuffed animals for the annual fundraiser. Alexandra graduated in 2013, and has a career in the environmental industry.

“I have had to accept his absence would affect the rest of my life and he would not walk me down to the alter to give me away.”

Her scholarship is given in memory of Mr. Fred Parker, Tallahassee attorney, who was known for his love of music. Mr. Parker was an accomplished pianist and a civic leader. His activities included serving two terms as president of the LeMoyne Art Foundation and serving on the board of the Tallahassee Symphony. Mr. Parker’s life was taken on March 8, 2004. His wife Edna has been involved with the Big Bend Victim Assistance Coalition Victim’s Right Week tribute.


Dyllan lost his mother to domestic violence. He lost a father and a mother. His mother was in counseling and getting strong enough to leave the abuse and make a better life for them.

Dyllan made a video called “End the Violence”. Through his video, he was able to reach out to others and explain the grief counseling could help cope with the pain. He now reaches out to help other children.

Each of the young victims knows the pain of losing their family to violent crime. They are a light for others as they face their grief by reaching and mentor other young people.


Ashley sadly lost her brother, who was shot in crossfire of a gang he had left, and her family has struggled to recover ever since. Ashley mentored a young girls step team in the inner city with no positive role models. She hopes to be a positive influence on them. She just graduated college in Virginia.

“Ms. Tuthill I am eternally grateful, forever in your debt, how can I ever repay you?”

Ashley’s scholarship is given in memory of Tammy Shields of Fort Walton Beach, who tragically lost her life on June 26, 2011. Tammy loved to travel and in her 34 brief years visited Korea, Germany, Holland, France, England, the Caribbean and New York.

Other recipient stories coming next:

Blake, Colin, Aleena, Jesse, Whitney, Kaija, May, Daniel, Victoria, Paul, Jakayla, Chase, Blake, Colin, Patricia