Using two pieces of Thomas Kinkade art as the prizes in a raffle, the family of Nathan Blizzard hopes to raise money for a scholarship fund that was established in his memory.
The Nathan A. Blizzard 4-H/FFA Memorial Scholarship fund provides several scholarships each year to Carroll County students currently or formerly involved in 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs.
The goal is to sell 500 raffle tickets and raise $5,000 for the fund.
"We have maintained the fund and not taken a penny out of it for anything but scholarships," said Nathan's father, Mel Blizzard Jr. of Westminster. "This raffle will help Nathan's legacy continue."
Nathan Blizzard was killed seven years ago in a car accident near the intersection of Routes 26 and 194 in Frederick County.
Carrying on dreams
The 20-year-old was a student at Carroll Community College in Westminster and planned to transfer to the University of Maryland to study animal science.
He worked at a dairy farm and was "really becoming involved with the genetics of cattle," Mel Blizzard said.
Nathan was involved in 4-H and FFA when he was a student at South Carroll High School.
"He was into dairy, livestock showing and tractors," Blizzard said. "He loved teaching the younger [4-H members] how to deal with animals and farming issues."
Shortly after Nathan's death, Blizzard and Dianne Andrews of Winfield, Nathan's mother, established the scholarship fund with the Community Foundation of Carroll County, an organization that distributes funds for charitable, cultural and educational purposes to benefit county residents.
"They are just wonderful people, and this makes them feel a little better, to do something for other kids," said Audrey Cimino, the foundation's executive director.
She said that after Nathan Blizzard's death, his parents heard a lot of stories about him from young people.
"Nathan was the kind of kid who helped others," Cimino said.
He was concerned about farmland preservation in Carroll County and wanted to make sure that farms were preserved for future generations, Blizzard said.
"We hope to carry on not only his dreams, but to help other youth continue their education and carry on their dreams," he said.
The community foundation has about 35 memorial and organization-sponsored scholarship funds that provide more than a million dollars at graduation to students around the county, according to Cimino.
"They all add to a kid's ability to go to school and stay in school," Cimino said. "It's a wonderful investment in the future of the community."
Eighteen scholarships have been awarded in Blizzard's honor since the fund was established in 1998.
Many of the recipients shared his interest in agriculture and animal science.
Scholarship amounts range from $500 to $1,500, depending on the applications received, Cimino said.
Five students were awarded scholarships at the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair last summer.
"Every year it gets harder for the family to just pick one or two," she added.
"It's an extraordinary undertaking to be able to build these scholarships," Cimino said. "They help parents and kids take care of ever-increasing school costs."
The Thomas Kinkade Co. donated a painting, "The Broadwater Bridge, Thomashire."
"We just wrote them and told them who we were and what we wanted to do, and would they be willing to donate something for this purpose. And they wrote back and said yes," Cimino said.
The Blizzard family owned the second picture and donated it to the foundation for the raffle. The lithograph, titled "Memories of Christmas," depicts a classic snow scene.
"I'm a Kinkade fan," said Blizzard, who owns two other pieces of the award-winning artist's work.
"The pieces are just very inspirational," he added. "When you look at the painting and the colors that he uses, it seems you can turn the light off and it will just glow."
The drawing for the two paintings will be held Dec. 20.
Raffle information: 410-857- 0001.