Fund helps friend who started it

For Steven and Ellena Curran it was a wonderful reunion.

They hadn't seen Craig Riggs, their late son Tim's childhood friend, since he was a teenager.Now they were getting reacquainted, visiting with Craig about a project he undertook 14 years ago to help keep their son's memory alive.

Tim Curran died Sept. 4, 1984, in a water skiing accident in California. He was 13.

Craig, then also 13, wanted to do something to remember his friend, who had dreamed of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and eventually attending BYU. Craig's father suggested that his son, for an Eagle Scout service project, raise money to fund a BYU scholarship in Tim's name.

Working through LDS Foundation, the donor service department of the Church, Craig began a fund-raising quest that would take more than two years.

The Currans gave Craig all the money donated at the funeral - about $3,000 - for the scholarship. He then began conducting all the fund-raisers that a 13-year-old can imagine."

He held car washes, sold candy and sent letters to every member of his stake - twice.

Still after two years, he was about $7,000 short of the $25,000 necessary to establish an endowment.

"I felt overwhelmed," said Craig. "I thought this was something out of my reach."

Then one day an official from BYU called, saying that the university was so impressed with what Craig was doing that it would add $10,000 to complete the endowment.

The scholarship is now awarded every year to a BYU student who is an Eagle Scout and has a grade-point average just under the average scholarship range.

The Currans say the scholarship is for Eagle Scouts because that is what Tim would have wanted. After his death, Tim was posthumously awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, and it was Craig's Eagle Scout project that made the scholarship possible.

The Currans are also happy the scholarship fund was later able to help Craig.

Years after the endowment was set up, Stephen E. Hill of the scholarship office at BYU was reviewing piles of prepared scholarship awards and noticed the Curran scholarship. He began to wonder what happened to Craig, who, he calculated, would now be the right age to attend a university.

After asking a few questions, Brother Hill learned that Craig was a senior at BYU and was in need of financial assistance. Craig met all the requirements for the award, so Brother Hill set to work to see that he could receive the funds.

"Those of us who work in this office were quite touched by his story," said Brother Hill, who never asked Craig if he wanted the award money. "It amazed us that he never came in to apply for the scholarship. We just sent him an award letter."

After receiving the scholarship, Craig realized just how much it was helping others.

"Not only does it help make ends meet," he said, "it also helps your self esteem to know that someone is willing to give you a hand. It makes you feel better about the world you live in."

He added, "A thousand dollars a year is not that big of a deal to someone who is working, but to a college student it is a treasure, it is a gold mine."

While visiting the Currans this summer, Craig talked about the scholarship he set up and then received - the scholarship that still binds him to his late friend's family.

"The biggest thing

for a college studentT is the ability to not stress and worry over where your next meal is coming from and how you will pay for rent," Craig said. "Then you can focus on your education and better prepare yourself for a career.

"The most rewarding part of all of it," he added, "is to [help people] from difficult financial situations who could not make it without help."

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