VASJ Senior Andrew Oriani has been chosen as a recipient of the 2019 LCpl Bret M Poklar Memorial Scholarship. Andrew is a member of the Viking Varsity Football and Baseball teams.
This is the 6th year that the Poklar family will be awarding scholarships to athletes in the Greater Cleveland Area.
The following is a description of Bret’s life and the meaning of this scholarship from Bret’s family.
“Bret Michael Poklar was born on December 11, 1990 and was the son of Susan and Terry Poklar, brother of Jesse Selby. Bret was passionate about three things: his family and friends, sports, and the Marine Corps.
A life-long resident of Willoughby, Ohio, Bret was very active in sports from a very young age, which included wrestling, football, and baseball. Bret was involved in sports his whole life. As a 12 year old, Bret played quarterback for the Willoughby Wolfpack and they won the 12 year old national championships in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Though Bret loved all sports, baseball was his passion. He played varsity baseball for Lake Catholic High School, in Mentor Ohio and played travel baseball all over the country. Bret also discovered that he had a heart for the community. He did volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity as well as committing to care for a young boy from Brazil, named Caio Henrique Lima through Compassion International. (Caio is now 12 years old and his care is being coordinated through Bret’s mom, Susan)
Bret’s passion for helping others led him to enlist in the Marine Corps. After completing boot camp on February 11, 2011, Bret went to Pensacola, Florida for his Military Occupational School (MOS) as an air traffic controller. Upon completion of school, Bret was issued permanent orders at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point in Havelock, North Carolina. During his assignment, Bret graduated from the Corporals Course, qualified on radar data, final control, tower data, ground control, local control, and was designated as Tower Supervisor. Bret accumulated many awards, including: The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and his Air Traffic Control License and a certificate of achievement on the combat fitness test with an outstanding score of 295.
The morning of February 23, 2013 was a day of tragedy. Bret was injured in an off duty accident on his military base in Cherry Point and transferred to a hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. Family, friends, and hundreds of Marines come to the hospital to pay their respects. On February 27th the doctors informed the family that Bret’s brain had stopped functioning. 100 Marines marched in, 2 by 2, to say their goodbyes. On February 28th, 2013 at 10:00am, the doctors removed Bret from life support and he passed away with his family by his side. Bret continued to help others, even in death, as an organ donor. Bret was buried on March 8th at Willoughby Memorial Gardens with full militart honors. From that day, our lives have changed forever.
We have created the LCpl Bret M Poklar Memorial Scholarship to assist student-athletes with scholarships for college. We are looking for young men and women who want to make a difference. This is what helps us get through the day.”
The LCpl Bret M Poklar Memorial Scholarship will be presented to Andrew on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at Lost Nation Golf Course.