Scholarship recipients keep Redding legacy alive

By: Kristine Guerra, Special to The Placer Herald
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Former Rocklin Police Officer Matt Redding did not live long enough to see his legacy passed on, but his parents, John and Marilyn Redding, both of Rocklin, continue to keep it alive. “He was doing such good work and we knew we had to continue his legacy,” John Redding said. Every year since the foundation was started in 2005, scholarships have been awarded to three students from three high schools: Del Oro High School in Loomis, which was Matt Redding’s alma mater, and Rocklin’s two high schools, Whitney High School and Rocklin High School. This year, scholarships were awarded to Kat Hennessy of Del Oro High School, Maka Pennell of Whitney High School and JJ Barnette of Rocklin High School. Proceeds from the annual community event Run Rocklin, which was held in April, were donated to the foundation to fund the scholarships. “I was very happy and excited,” said 17-year-old Pennell. “It’s so heartwarming because this is definitely a great opportunity.” Pennell said she was awarded $1,200 and plans to major in biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine. “I personally knew Matt Redding so it’s a very big reward for me,” said 18-year-old Barnette, who said he was awarded $1,000 and plans to major in kinesiology at Sacramento State University. The Matt Redding Foundation, which was conceptualized during the week of his death in October 2005, provides financial support to graduating seniors who wish to pursue careers in the military, medical field, fire service and criminal justice. “This foundation enables us to give to the community like he did and keep him alive in the face of the community,” John Redding said. “The foundation is all about Matt. It’s all about my son.” Students were selected based on their GPAs, career plans, financial need, community service history and two recommendation letters. Applicants are also asked to write a personal note about their lives, career goals and the like. Every year, the foundation receives an average of 15 applications from all three high schools. “There’s a commonality between the winners that’s really special,” John Redding said. With $8,000 received from Run Rocklin and additional funds to be received from the Matt Redding Memorial Golf Tournament this month, John Redding said they might reach about $100,000. Matt Redding, who was only 29 years old when he was killed in a drunk driving accident, was a member of the Rocklin/Roseville SWAT team, worked for the Rocklin Police Department for four years and was a recipient of the Life Saving Award, Bronze Medal of Honor, Officer of the Year Award and MADD Award. “We’re hurt and we always will be,” John Redding said. “We think of Matt everyday. When I think of Matt, it’s the best of times and the worst of times.” FYI: Ways to help the foundation: June 22 — Fourth annual Matt Redding Memorial Golf Tournament July 12, 4-9 p.m. — Dinner at Rubino’s Ristorante, 5051 Pacific St., Rocklin; $21 per person August 10, 7:05 p.m. — Matt Redding Foundation Night presented by the Sacramento River Cats; tickets are $15 For more information, please call John or Marilyn Redding at 624-0789 or visit