After Woodbury soldier Dan Drevnick and two of his comrades were killed by an enemy rocket in Iraq in July 2009, there was considerable media attention.
And while that attention has since faded, Dan’s memory will live on through a new scholarship created in his honor.
His parents, Ken and Julie Drevnick, have established the Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund, which gives money to veterans (or family members) who are studying law enforcement.
It was a career Dan wanted to pursue, much like his father, a 30-year veteran of the State Patrol.
The inaugural scholarships will be given out at a 1 p.m. March 31 event at . Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens will emcee. Five scholarships, at $1,000 apiece, will be awarded.
“We wanted to do something to keep Dan’s name alive,” Ken said.
Dan, a 2005 grad, joined the National Guard and left for basic training before his graduation ceremony. He was an MP with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and studied law enforcement at Century College.
He died on July 17, 2009, after a low-flying rocket landed in his Basra, Iraq, compound. Specialists James Wertish and Carlos Wilcox were also killed in the attack.
Work on the scholarship fund began soon after, and it took a lot of time—and plenty of volunteer work from others—to found the memorial fund, Ken said. They have also enlisted the help of their daughter, Rebecca, a Stillwater Area High School graduate, who works with the Wounded Warrior Project.
“It’s a labor of love,” he said.
Ken said he hopes the fund supplements soldiers’ GI Bill money and opens the door for them “to take the same steps Dan was taking.”
The money doesn’t have to be used toward school, but applicants must demonstrate that they are enrolled in a law-enforcement program. Julie said she hopes the money removes some of the obstacles—rent, daycare, paying for books—that prevent veterans or their family members from staying in school.
Most of the scholarship money comes from donations, and the first fundraiser for the Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund will likely be held this summer. One hundred percent of the donations go to the fund.
Keeping Dan’s name alive “means the world to us,” said Ken, who went on to talk about his son’s affable nature and ability to connect with people.
Julie spoke of Dan’s compassionate spirit.
“He was just a good person,” she said. “He always hugged his father.”
Ken, who would often take his son to a drag-racing track, said Dan could hang out with young children or “sit down with my 65-year-old friends and have conversations for hours.”
He added: “He was the only one who could talk to his platoon sergeant the way he did—and get away with it.”
It is that very same platoon sergeant whose image adorns the front of a Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund brochure.
Despite its name, Ken said the intent isn’t to turn the fund into a memorial.
“This is an upbeat, great thing,” he said.
It has been challenging to get the scholarship fund off the ground, Ken said. Nonprofit status was secured just two months ago. But once the idea started, there was no stopping him.
“We’re not ones to let things go,” he said. “We kept on going.”
And in the end, Dan’s name will live on.
“No parent wants their son or daughter to be forgotten,” Ken said.
Visit the website, http://heroathome.org, for more information about the Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund.