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A mother's labor of love to carry on her son's legacy

Posted at 11:24 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 23:24:54-04

Tyler Pope was supposed to play in the big, rivalry lacrosse game Wednesday night as a senior at C. Milton Wright High School.    

But Pope died in a car accident eight months ago, leaving a void for all who knew him.

"Tyler was 17, he had just got back with his girlfriend from the Maryland State Fair and he decided to go night fishing, bow fishing," Popes mother, Tina Kummelman, remembered.

But Pope never came home.

"It was a single car accident.  They're not sure if he swerved off the road or a deer or they just don't know," said Kummelman.

Them not knowing has been painful for her and her daughter, Emily. 

"We had a rule that you had to say I love you before you left so I know the last words I had to Tyler were 'I love you,'" said Kummelman. "We just try to get through the days as best we can."

By turning tragedy into triumph with the Tyler Pope Memorial Scholarship.

"It's a family and I thank God that we have that family because I think lots of times we couldn't get through it without them. So the scholarship is a way to thank those boys for being here. We asked the varsity boys team to write us an essay on either what Tyler meant to them and his loss or a challenge they had to overcome," Kummelman explained.

"His passion lives.  He loved lacrosse.  He wasn't the best student and he didn't get to play last year because he failed chemistry but he plays for another club team during that season and I just 
want those other boys to have the same opportunity and these boys are just so special."

"This year I gave up playing lacrosse because it's too hard for me to play without him so I decided to manage the boy's team.  In a way it's like giving back to the kids who've been there for me through it all," said Popes, sister, Emily Pope.

Two scholarships will be awarded to two of Tyler's teammates when he's honored on Wednesday's senior night.

Kummelman said she plans to keep the scholarship program going for years to come.