STURGEON BAY — When Adam LaLuzerne lost his life in a drowning accident nearly three years ago, he left behind a legacy of faith, involvement in his parish and community service.
So, it seemed fitting that the sixth annual Walk for a Cause, hosted by Corpus Christi Parish in Sturgeon Bay on May 4, would continue that legacy. For the second year, proceeds from the walk will go to the Adam LaLuzerne Humanitarian Scholarship Fund.
“Adam was an amazing young man with a heart of gold,” said Sarah Gavin, youth minister for the quad-parishes during Adam’s high school years. “He just wanted to make people happy and wanted to serve others. This event is just a small way for us to continue to carry on Adam’s legacy and to hopefully help the family heal from such a loss.”
Fr. Carl Schmitt, who was there to bless the participants, agreed that events such as these are important in the healing process.
“Things like this celebrate his life,” he said.
A scholarship is given out each year to one or two Sturgeon Bay High School seniors who have thoroughly demonstrated their passion for service and their desire to continue working for the benefit of others, according to Gavin.
In a ceremony before the walk began, Adam’s mother, Lori LaLuzerne, spoke briefly to people gathered in the parish’s social hall.
“Adam was a young man who loved to be with people,” she said. “He had the ability to talk with anyone about anything. Adam believed everyone was good, he accepted each person for who they were and saw the potential in everyone he met.”
Last year’s scholarship recipients, Megan Richard and Allison Alberts, expressed their thanks for last year’s awards. Alberts was in the middle of college exams but her mother, Amy Alberts, read her comments.
“My priest recently told me that three things should prioritize our lives: love one another, serve one another, and completely unite as one together. … I think these were Adam’s goals in life. … He showed us the power of giving,” Alberts wrote.
Gavin said the scholarship for the class of 2019 will be $2,500.
The 168 registered walkers included family members, friends and those who support Adam’s faith and philosophy of life. Among them was Dylan Abeyta, a lifelong friend who was with Adam the day they were swept off a pier in Sheboygan. Abeyta was rescued. Another young man, Kurt Ahonen, also drowned.
As the walkers surged out of the social hall and into the streets of Sturgeon Bay, Lori LaLuzerne’s final words went with them: “True joy comes from reaching out to help someone. As we walk and remember Adam, may each of us look within ourselves to the gifts and talents we have and choose to make a difference in the life of someone,” she said. “Spend time talking and laughing as we walk. Adam would find joy in knowing everyone was having a good time.”