Honoring a friend gone too soon, foundation pays forward to children of deceased parents


by: Ryan Ballengee, GolfNewsNet.com

Quincy Conner was bringing Christmas presents into his home on Dec. 21, 2005. This would be his first Christmas as a married man, having tied the knot in August to his long-time girlfriend, Sarah. Ohio is cold that time of year, but the presents for his wife and their then-4-year-old daughter, Trinity, would warm their hearts.

And then, suddenly, Quincy, a man barely 28 years old, had a heart attack in his kitchen. He died.

Quincy's death brought his family together, one that extended well beyond his relatives. After moving around as a military brat, his family settled down and he grew up in Woodbridge, Va., and had remained close to the people that defined his life through high school. He joined the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity when he attended Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. He formed unbreakable bonds with his brothers.

Saddened by the devastating loss, these people collectively knew their pain was small in nature compare to Sarah and Trinity, who would grow up without her father's infectious energy, his mischievous grin and his wisdom.

Two of Quincy's college friends, Rob McBurney and Lukas Ford, formed The Quincy Conner Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to award college scholarships to kids whose background is similar to Quincy's. For the last eight years, the foundation has doled out critical college money through at least one of three scholarships: the Q scholarship, given to a high school student graduating from Woodbridge Senior High School; the Memorial scholarship, for a student heading to Muskingum; and the Legacy scholarship, for high school students who lost a parent early in life, often to heart disease.

For 2016, the three scholarship winners were given $5,000 each -- the biggest awards to date. The Foundation raises money for these scholarships with two big events during the year.

In Woodbridge, Va., each September, the Foundation has a 5K -- dubbed the 5Q -- race and fun run at Lake Ridge Middle School, where Quincy went to middle school.

Before that, however, is the primary fundraiser for the year, a golf tournament in Ohio. It's an opportunity for many of Quincy's fraternity brothers, many of which are still in the Buckeye State, to stay connected. Many from Quincy's Virginia family make the trek, and they make a weekend out of it. The tournament has been called the "Know Your Hole" Tournament because Quincy loved using the pro wrestler The Rock's catch phrase, telling people friends to "know their role."

This year, the golf tournament is July 23 in Colubmus at Champions Golf Course. It's an intimate outing, some 60 folks or so, for $75 per person.