One great example that directly impacts students at Saint Ignatius College Prep, is the Erik Kristensen Endowment.
“Erik, even back in high school, was a strong, smart, but also humble guy. He was someone who was always there for other people,” explained Michael Marrion, who co-founded a boxing event in Kristensen’s name that fuels the endowment.
Marrion was a classmate of Kristensen’s at what he described as “another great Jesuit institution,” Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C.
He said Kristensen went on to the U.S. Naval Academy, and later became a Navy SEAL. After that, service took Lt. Commander Kristensen to Afghanistan where he tragically lost his life during Operation Red Wings in 2005.
“We were so saddened to hear of his death,” said Marrion, “And we wanted to remember him.”
First came a scholarship program at their alma mater, Gonzaga. Then Marrion brought the tradition of honoring Kristensen, and service to others, to Chicago, saying, “There’s no better place than Saint Ignatius College Prep, another home of Jesuit education and dedication to other people.”
This year will mark the third time Saint Ignatius will host the Erik Kristensen Boxing Smoker - but for the first time it’s coming to campus at Tully Hall. Proceeds go to the endowment which funds awards for the sons and daughters of Chicago police officers and firefighters — young people like Tighe ‘24, who comes from a family of first responders.
His mom, Lauren, kept a copy of the thank you letter Tighe '24 wrote after he received the Kristensen Scholarship. In that letter, he said, “My parents have taught me the values of honor, bravery, and sacrifice and your son is a perfect example of those qualities. My mom had tears in her eyes when she found out that I was awarded this scholarship; not only because she is grateful for the assistance, but she said also because she’s honored that your family chose our family.”
Lauren, who spoke with us in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood where service runs deep, said of the scholarship, “It comes from where I come from, where my family comes from. Although I didn’t know Lt. Commander Kristensen, I really feel a deep connection to his family in the sense of the sacrifices that so many have made.”
The meaning of the scholarship touches her heart, the same way her son’s opportunity to learn at Saint Ignatius does. Lauren is an alum from the Class of 1995. She knows the spiritual and academic value of a Saint Ignatius education.
So when community members come to the Kristensen Boxing Smoker, Lauren is grateful because they are honoring a man who received a Catholic Jesuit education and lived to serve. And because they are helping young people, like her Tighe, who will take their years of formation at Saint Ignatius College Prep, and use them to make our world a better place.
The Kristensen Boxing Smoker will pair local boxers who train at places like Letz Box Chicago, with athletes from the Naval Academy.
If you’d like to help and have a great time, just click the link…https://ignatius.myschoolapp.com/page/erik-kristensen-boxing-smoker-event-102222?siteId=1276&ssl=1