Capt. Nick Whitlock was a Mercer University alumnus serving as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force in Djibouti, Africa. In February of 2012, the plane he was co-piloting experienced a malfunction and crashed.
All four people on board, including Whitlock, were killed.
Toward the end of 2012, Mercer alumni and friends of Whitlock began the Whitlock Foundation in his honor.
This weekend, two events by the Whitlock Foundation will raise money for the Nicholas S. Whitlock Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship the foundation hopes to give to one Mercer student every year, said Garrett Ratcliff.
Ratcliff was Whitlock’s roommate and fraternity brother at Mercer. He said Whitlock was “one of the most well-liked people who attended Mercer. I didn’t know anyone who didn’t like him.”
Another of Whitlock’s friends from Mercer, Daniel Day, said Whitlock was involved in SGA, was president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and was on the baseball team during his time at Mercer.
“Nick was probably the most upright, well-rounded person I’ve ever met,” said Day. “You want your kids to end up like him.”
On Friday, the First Annual Patriot’s Ball at the Armory Ballroom will raise money for the Whitlock Foundation through food, a silent auction and live music.
Some of the items to be auctioned off include a football signed by the Atlanta Falcons, vacation rentals, a quail hunting trip and other items donated by local businesses.
Tickets are $100, and the event is geared more toward Mercer alumni, said Ratcliff.
However, a tailgate the next day before Mercer’s first football game is a great way for students to get involved with the Whitlock Foundation.
“Nick was so excited for the first football game,” said Ashley Whitlock, Nick Whitlock’s wife. Ashley said he began planning for the game two years before it was scheduled to occur.
Nick Whitlock’s friends thought a fundraiser centered around the football game he was so excited about would be appropriate, Ashley said.
The tailgate will be on the intramural field from noon until kickoff. There will be live music from Colby Dee, Shane Bridges and Stevens Layne. There will also be barbecue catered by Satterfield’s Restaurant.
Wristbands for the tailgate are $20 on the day of the event.
All profits from the two fundraisers this weekend will go toward the scholarship fund.
“I would love to raise $15,000-$20,000 from this event,” said Day.
Day said students also could get involved by talking to friends and family who might be able to donate to the foundation.
“We’re needing lots of support,” said Day.
The Whitlock Foundation hopes to give out the first scholarship in 2014. At first, it will be a partial scholarship, but once the foundation raises enough money, according to the foundation’s website, it will pay full tuition for eight semesters at Mercer.
Ashley said that she and Nick met at Mercer, and got married a couple years after Nick graduated.
She said the Whitlock Foundation and Nicholas S. Whitlock Memorial Scholarship are ways to allow Mercer to impact other people’s lives the way Mercer impacted Nick’s life.
“Nick had this remarkable ability to bring people together and just pour into all of his relationships,” said Ashley.
Ashley said seeing the Whitlock Foundation bring people together is the real success—a scholarship is just “icing on the cake.”
“This is not the way Nick and I saw our life going, but it has been remarkable to me how many people have come forward to be part of our foundation,” said Ashley.
For more information about the Whitlock Foundation or tickets to the Patriot’s Ball, visit whitlockfoundation.com.