New Prairie High School graduate Blake Kirkham is the recipient of the 2016 Jamie Middlebrook Memorial Scholarship. The honor was presented at the Senior Awards on Tuesday, May 24 at New Prairie High School.
The memorial scholarship was established to honor New Carlisle Fire Department and EMS Assistant Chief Jamie Middlebrook, who was killed fighting a commercial fire on August 5, 2014.
The $1,000 scholarship is annually awarded to a New Prairie graduating senior who embodies Jamie’s volunteer spirit and passion for continued education.
To be eligible, the scholarship recipient must be the child of a full-time, part-time or volunteer first responder (fire department, emergency medical service, or police department).
Blake’s father, David Kirkham, is a 23-year veteran of the Indiana State Police.
Beginning in the fall, Blake will be attending Grace College, a Christian liberal arts college, in Winona Lake, Indiana. He intends to major in Sports Business and Finance.
At New Prairie, Blake finished in the top ten of the 2016 graduating class and was involved various extra-curricular activities. He was a two-year member of the National Honor Society and also participated in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).
Blake was a four-year letter winner with New Prairie’s very strong cross country program. He received All-Northern State Conference honors in 2013, and also qualified for Regional and Semi-State that year. He again qualified for Regional in 2015, and was named to the Academic All-State Second Team.
Blake also lettered in Track & Field, winning All-Conference honors as a member of the 3200-meter relay team in 2015.
Blake has also dedicated much of his time to serving his community and beyond. As a member of the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church Youth Group, he took a mission trip to a Native American reservation in South Dakota, helping run a bible school and assisting with yard work.
Blake has also been involved with the Faith in Action Ministry, where he has helped collect food for the food pantry, assisted the Community Reserve with furniture pick-up and delivery, and served meals to the homeless at Hope Ministries in South Bend.
“Our 2016 recipient, Blake Kirkham, was chosen, not only because he has excelled in academics, sports and leadership, but because he is a hard worker, he’s trustworthy and he has strong family values,” said Gary Lawson, who presented the scholarship on behalf of the New Carlisle Fire Department.
Jamie’s parents, Bob and Carol Middlebrook, joined Lawson in the presenting the scholarship. Jamie’s widow, Julie, was unable to attend.
“Blake has performed these kind, selfless acts of his own freewill solely for the benefit of others. By definition, that’s what volunteerism is,” Lawson added.