Redding’s work lives on
U.S. Army Second Lt. Russell Bettencourt wrote this letter in 2012 to John and Marilyn Redding to express his appreciation for the scholarship he received in 2007.
“I graduated in 2007 from Del Oro High School and received the Officer Matt Redding Foundation Scholarship. I was very grateful to receive this scholarship. I had applied for the United States Military Academy at West Point. I received an Associate of Graduates Scholarship to attend a prep school at Blair Academy in New Jersey for one year and was accepted to USMA in 2008. I would not have been able to attend Blair Academy without the financial scholarships and support from the community. I was responsible to pay for one-third of the tuition (approximately $13,000).
“The Officer Matt Redding Scholarship was very important to me. Not only was it given in honor of a man who made a great sacrifice for others, but because my dad is a wrestling coach at Del Oro High School and my mom is a deputy sheriff. They both knew Officer Redding both personally and professionally. They told me what a great person he was.
“I want to let you know how important your scholarship is to those who receive it. In May of this year, I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. I graduated in the top 10 percent of my class with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in military science, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I alco received the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering Dennis Hart Mahan Memorial Award for Excellence in Automotive Systems.
“I am currently attending the Engineering Basic Officer Leadership Course in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. My permanent assignment is with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry. I branched to an Engineer Sapper Company attached to an infantry regiment. I am posted at Schoefield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii, and my unit is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next summer.
“I appreciate the scholarship that I received in Officer Redding’s memory. I treasure the support of the community and the Matt Redding Foundation for helping me reach my goal as an officer in the U.S. Army.”
When: Sunday, April 7
Kids Fun Run: 7:45 a.m.
12K Run: 8 a.m.
5K Run/Walk: 8:20 a.m.
Kids one-mile run: 9:30 a.m.
Where: Johnson-Springview Park, 5480 Fifth St.
Cost: Adults: $34 prior to race day/$39 day of; 18 and under for 12K and 5K, $20 prior to race day/$25 day of; Kids Fun Run and Kids One-Mile Run:, free
Seven years after he was struck and killed by a drunk driver, Rocklin Police Officer Matt Redding is remembered for his service to community and family, both of which will never forget the young man who touched so many lives.
“We cannot let his legacy expire,” said Redding’s father, John Redding. “He’s going to be remembered forever. Not just by us, but by everyone we can touch.”
John and Marilyn Redding honor their son through the Matt Redding Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships to seniors from Rocklin, Whitney and Del Oro high schools who plan to pursue careers in the protective services, be it military, po-lice, fire, criminal justice or medicine. The Reddings have been giving out scholarships since 2006.
“People have such nice things to say,” said Marilyn Redding, who attends every scholarship presentation along with her husband. “They’re so wonderful, and when we stand there and we give out the scholarships at the schools, they’re so appreciative and they hug us and they just show their appreciation so wonderfully, and it just warms our hearts, makes us feel so good.”
One of those appreciative recipients was Russell Bettencourt, a 2007 Del Oro graduate who is now a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Bettencourt said the first time he applied to the United States Military Academy in 2007, he was not accepted. But soon after receiving his denial letter, Bettencourt learned he was being recruited to the Army Wrest-ling Team, and decided to attend Blair Academy, a prep school in New Jersey, for a year before reapplying and being accepted into West Point.
Because he had to pay one-third of his tuition – about $13,000 – Bettencourt said the Matt Redding scholarship was used to help pay for books and school supplies.
His sister, Caitlin, was also a recipient of a Matt Redding scholarship, which she is using to study nursing at Sacramento State University.
Bettencourt graduated West Point in the top 10 percent of his class, earning an honors degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on automotive engineering. He is now stationed as an engineer officer at Schoefield Barracks in Hawaii. His unit is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this summer.
In the future, Bettencourt said, he hopes to continue his military career and attend graduate school for mechanical engineering.
The Matt Redding scholarship holds significance to Bettencourt, he said, because his father, Lawrence, is a fire chief and his mother, Laurie, is a deputy sheriff.
“It is important to honor Matt’s memory through this scholarship because he gave his life for his community and those around him,” Bettencourt said. “I joined the Army so that I could serve my nation and those around me, and I believe this would make Matt proud.”
This weekend will see the 10th annual Run Rocklin race, where 3,000 people are expected to run to raise money for local schools and the Matt Redding Foundation. Proceeds from the race have gone toward the foundation since the race’s fourth year.
The Bettencourts agree the scholarship foundation is about more than just money – it’s about bringing the community together and raising awareness.
“Every time they have a run, every time you think ‘Matt Redding,’ you think what a tragedy that could have been prevented,” Laurie Bettencourt said. “I think it brings it back up in people’s minds. DUI arrests and accidents are dropping, and I think the more people that remember the accident and how just senseless it is, it’s important to keep that word out there, too. But they try to turn it into a positive aspect of Matt’s life, what he was about – being part of the community and in the community.”
“This is not about us,” John Redding said. “This is about our son and his ultimate sacrifice in serving his community – and his legacy, and continuing that legacy forward.”