We knew his condition was grave, particularly when he was placed in hospice care at his home, and we also knew that once off life support, his time would be short.
Nevertheless, we continued to hope, because hope and prayer were all that we had to cling to as Zach Lederer continued his fight against brain cancer.
And yet, when he finally passed away March 11, we seemed to be stunned. After all, look what this courageous young man had gone through during his incredible life. Through all the setbacks, he always seemed to rebound. Despite all the brain surgeries and trying times, there he was telling us in his own way with his "Zaching" pose that life was worth living, even though many of his days were more of a challenge than we would ever know.
How many of us can truly say that we made a difference in other people's lives? Zach's impact on the world he left behind can be felt not just here in Howard County or on the University of Maryland campus, where he was revered for his strength, but also in places around the world, where people expressed true sorrow when they heard the news.
He inspired millions — cancer patients, people serving in the military, those in Hollywood and those in his hometown. Far and wide, Zach was quite a special person, and yet he was barely out of his teens.
I earnestly hope that his fight, his determination and his love for others make us take a hard look at our own lives.
We should strive to embody his spirit in our day-to-day activities. There was only one Zach, and although he is physically gone, his memory will live on for years to come.
It's amazing how lucky we were to have him in all of our lives as long as we did. We may never see another person like him.
Thank you Zach, may you rest in peace.
Rotary Club scholarship
The Rotary Club of Columbia has announced that applications for the 2014 Robert Davidson Scholar Athlete Awards are currently available to be filled out, and I urge all college-bound Howard County seniors who meet the requirements to apply. The $2,000 scholarships are for the top male and female applicants, while the two runners-up will receive $1,000. A special plaque for the winners will go on display at their respective high schools. Since the program began, more than $120,000 has been awarded to Howard County students.
For more information, and for the application form, visit the Rotary Club online at columbiarotary.org. There are no restrictions on the number of applicants from any one high school. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 11.
TriColumbia in trouble
Having attended many of the TriColumbia races over the better part of its 30-year existence, I'm sure I join others who were stunned to hear that it nearly was on the brink of shutting down due to financial shortfalls. The organization's new board of directors checked the books, and that's when the discrepancies were first discovered.
I would say that if any company lost several hundred thousand dollars in a year, questions would be forthcoming and there might have to be some explaining. Apparently, the new board has righted the ship, and TriColumbia races will continue.
But I don't think it's that simple.
First, confidence in TriColumbia has been shattered, and an explanation beyond poor bookkeeping is in order. Why didn't anybody realize earlier that the races were losing money and that the company was heading for financial ruin? Maybe an audit is needed, because if there was any kind of mismanagement no matter how small, the public has a right to know.
Confidence in the company must be restored or TriColumbia is doomed to fail.