Scholarship honors late youth’s legacy of service

Mar. 28, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

The memory of Marvin Lee — a promising young Sanford man who was killed in a wreck this summer — will live on through a scholarship offered to local students headed to college.

On Saturday, Sanford-area motorcycle club Tha Team is organizing a ride in honor of Lee, a former member, that will also serve as a fundraiser for the scholarship in his honor. Lee’s nickname in the club was Knowledge, so the scholarship will be known as the Marvin “Knowledge” Lee Memorial Scholarship. Tickets to the ride are $10 ber bike and $5 for bike passengers; cars can also enter for $10. The group will take a two-hour jaunt through Lee and Harnett counties Saturday, gathering at 10 a.m. at the M.T. Burch Center in Sanford, at 1122 Boykin Ave., departing at 11 a.m. and arriving back in Sanford around 1 p.m. at Kiwanis Park for food, drinks and music.

“He was such a gentleman, just mature beyond his years,” said Sonya Green, a club member who’s helping organize the event. “He lived a great life for the 23 years he lived. He was a great role model.”

Lee, the 2006 Sanford/Lee County Boys and Girls Clubs Youth of the Year and a former member of the City of Sanford’s Youth Council, graduated from Lee County High School in 2007 and from Central Carolina Community College in 2010. He was working with disabled adults at the time of his death in August, when he was driving at night near Zebulon and his vehicle hit a car with no lights on, and then careened into the path of another vehicle. The drivers of both of the other cars were charged with driving while impaired.

And although Lee was driving a car when he died, motorcycles were his passion, Green said. His lime green bike won a contest Tha Team sponsored shortly before his death, and he met his fiancee, Crystal Lee, through the club. Green said she hopes the ride will continue annually as a way to honor him through riding and the scholarship.

“(His death) broke us all down, and we’re definitely never going to be the same without him,” she said, echoing statements many others made shortly after Lee’s death. Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive took time at one city council meeting to honor his memory; local Boys and Girls Clubs leaders Bo Hedrick and William Johnson raved about his character, and his mother, Dorelean Alston, told The Herald that all manners of people had come to her to express their sympathy.

“Anybody he could help, he did help,” she said after the accident. “I had a guy come by saying Marvin had helped him get off drugs. He had been real strung out, lost his job and everything, but Marvin saved him.”

Now, said Green, the motorcycle club is trying to continue Lee’s legacy of helping others and valuing a good education: The scholarship will only be available to high schoolers graduating in 2013 from a Lee County school who intend to go to college and have shown dedication to community service. Green said the amount of money dispersed will depend on how much is raised this weekend, noting that there have already been several generous donations to the fund.

Requirements will include a short essay on leadership; membership in a community, service or church group; and a letter of recommendation. Green said financial need and GPA will be considered as well, although the focus will mainly be on service.

She said that after local students return from spring break in early April, she and other club members will travel to the high schools to publicize the scholarship, and in the meantime, anyone with questions can contact organizers at marvinleescholarshipfund@gmail.com. For more information on the ride, people can contact club members “Humble Dude” at (919) 478-0977, “Ms. Bratt” at (919) 279-4764 or “Superwoman” at (919) 935-4059. Green can be reached at sonya_green91@yahoo.com.