Lori Elliott gives back to HHS class of 2010
It has been a little over two years since Lori Elliott's son, Luke Zietlow, died in a car accident. Luke would have graduated from Hudson High School this year with the class of 2010.
But with the help and emotional support of the Hudson community, Elliott has been able to come to terms with her lose.
"The community has allowed me to grieve openly," Elliott said. "I think that really helped me and I just want to give back to the community."
Elliott has volunteered with countless organizations including Rotary, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Hudson Youth Court, and has been a confirmation leader as well.
Along with all the volunteering Elliott does, she has also been a huge part in helping Zietlow's friends cope with what had happened. She hosted "Luke Nights" where she invited a group of Zietlow's friends over to her house to talk, eat and play games while they talked about him.
"I think the parties were almost the greatest healing opportunity for me," Elliott said. "It really helped when I saw those kids and got to talk to them about Luke."
Even before Zietlow died, Elliott was there for families that needed her. Although they did not ask for her help she was there anyway.
"What she (Elliott) is feeling with the community is a sense of giving back to her what she gave to them," said Peggy Claflin, who's daughter, Megan, was one of two recipients of the Luke Zietlow Scholarship.
Zietlow had a big heart and he always did things to the fullest Elliott said. She felt like he never got caught up in any of the negative energy that people would give off, but instead he would always be positive.
"It is amazing to see the energy created by Luke," Elliott said.
Zietlow had a passion for soccer while he was alive, so the business community of Hudson donated a tree to be planted in his name at the Field of Dreams soccer fields. The soccer association also donated a plaque to remember Zietlow which has been placed next to the tree.
"I created the Luke Zietlow Scholarship to help celebrate kids who give it their all in both school and in the sports they play," Elliott said. "This year only there were two scholarships given out, one each for a boy and a girl who give it their all in everything they do."
The winners of the scholarship for 2010 were Ben Markowski and Megan Claflin and they will each receive $1000.
The Luke Zietlow Scholarship goes to an outstanding athlete who has played soccer in the Hudson area for four years or more and who also has done well in school. The money comes from the memorials given to the Elliott and her family after Zietlows death.
Elliott was told by friends that she would miss all the things that she wouldn't get to do with her son now that he was gone.
"All I could think about at the time was how much I wanted him back," Elliott said. "But now when I look at his younger sister it reminds me of him and the things he never got to do."
Graduation is just another one of those things that Zietlow never got to experience Elliott said. But even though Zietlow would have graduated this year she didn't want the event to be about him.
"It is about the people who are graduating this year not about Luke," Elliott said.
To Elliott living is about living, being passionate because no one ever knows if tomorrow is coming for them or not. She has no regrets about her time with her son because she lived it to the fullest.
"I don't ever have any regrets. I had 15 years with Luke," Elliott said. "We had a lot more fun to be had, but I am putting that energy into helping the other kids."
Although Zietlow was not able to graduate with the class of 2010, he will be remembered by the winners of the scholarship and his classmates.