Memory of two Williamsport High teens honored during ceremony in Carson, Calif.
Fight Like Dylan Award given to Williamsport High School by Russell Brands, LLC athletics in memory of Brendon Colliflower and Samantha Kelly. (Submitted photo / January 4, 2013)
On Thursday night, their memories were honored with a $50,000 award from Russell Brands, LLC athletics during a ceremony in Carson, Calif.
The money will be used to purchase equipment and uniforms for Williamsport High School’s athletic teams.
Samantha’s mother, Jonna Vinci, said Friday in a telephone interview from California that she was humbled by the judges’ decision to recognize Samantha and Brendon.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “It’s another way of getting (their) names out there ... It was a touching situation last night to hear everyone’s stories and to receive this.”
The Fight Like Dylan Award program was created by Russell Athletic two years ago to honor the memory of Dylan Rebeor, a 16-year-old from Columbia, Tenn., who died of cancer on Dec. 3, 2010.
His death came just hours before his high school football teammates won their school’s first state championship in 58 years.
Dylan’s final wish was for his teammates to receive brand new uniforms through the Make A Wish Foundation for the upcoming season. The Fight Like Dylan Award was established by Russell Athletic in conjunction with Dylan’s family and coaches to celebrate the young athlete’s life and selflessness.
In addition to Vinci, the ceremony Thursday was attended by Samantha’s brother, Jack; and Brendon’s father, Chad, and grandfather, John.
Williamsport volleyball coach Emily Crabtree and baseball coach David Warrenfeltz also attended the event. The two coached Samantha and Brendon, who were standout athletes during their high school years.
Warrenfeltz said he and Crabtree submitted an application on Facebook for a chance to receive the award. He said they found out in mid-December that Williamsport High School had been named the winner.
“They said our story was just so unbelievable, amazing and heart-wrenching,” Crabtree said in an interview from California.
She added that Brendon and Samantha were role models and popular among the other students.
Brendon was Pitcher of the Year for Washington County in 2011, and Samantha was selected first-team All Washington County in volleyball that same year.
They were killed in a May 5, 2012, car accident on Rench Road on their way home from the school prom.
Their classmates used the memory of the loss as motivation to win the Maryland Class 2A state championships in baseball in late May and volleyball in November.
Dylan Rebeor’s mother, Heather Rebeor, was one of the judges who chose Brendon’s and Samantha’s story as the winner.
Other judges included former Indianapolis Colts football coach Tony Dungy, and pro football players Colt McCoy, Mark Ingram and Pierre Garcon.
“If you’re a human being, it’s really going to get to you,” Rebeor said Friday in a telephone interview. “They were two well-liked kids ... I feel like Dylan must have met Samantha and Brendon. Their characteristics and attitudes were just alike.”
Vinci said she and the other Williamsport residents who made the trip to California plan to visit Angel Stadium of Anaheim before they fly back this morning.
She said they want to stop by the stadium to pay their respects to Nick Adenhart, a former Williamsport resident and Los Angeles Angels pitcher who died on the morning of April 9, 2009, after being injured in a car accident.
The night before, the 22-year-old Adenhart pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut against the Oakland A’s.