EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - 19-year-old Zach Wardrip died last spring at Murray State University after going to a party with a friend.
Pushing for more awareness, his sister is now sharing more about her brother’s sudden death and the creation of a scholarship for local students.
Aerika’s younger brother, Zach, died from alcohol poisoning after police say he was binge drinking at a MSU fraternity party.
“I think the earlier you talk about the dangers of drinking, dangers of binge drinking, the better off your kids are,” Aerika Wardrip says.
The purpose of their non-profit foundation is alerting others to the possibly deadly consequences of consuming too much alcohol.
“I think it’s just something you learn to live with, it’s not really something that gets easier,” Aerika explains.
“Big Zach,” as friends and family knew him, also had a big heart.
“Protector, not just for me, but his friends. They say he was always there,” Aerika recalled.
After high school, Zach had dreams of moving to Alaska and becoming a welder.
“On spring break instead of going to Florida and Panama City, he was going to Michigan and fishing,” Aerika smiled.
This Saturday, on September 14th, the foundation is putting on benefit and memorial ride, car truck and bike show, cornhole tournament, and auction. Each of these are hobbies family says Zach would enjoy.
The money raised from this memorial will be put towards scholarship opportunities, which will be awarded to some local students enrolled in a technical college pursuing a vocational degree.
“This scholarship would be something that would benefit him,” Aerika says.
Although opening up about their loss can be struggling, Zach’s family hopes their message is sobering.
“You grieve differently every day,” Aerika told 14 News. “There’s always something that I want to talk to my brother about. There’s always something I want him to be part of. So, it doesn’t get easier it just becomes more management I think."
The 60-mile memorial ride starts and ends at the main gate of the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fair Grounds. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.
First bikes are out at 10:30 a.m. and the auction starts at 12:30 p.m.
Situations like this one are why many states implemented life-line laws.
They provide some immunity for people drinking underage who call for help for an alcohol-related emergency. Officials say many times teens don’t call for help because they fear they’ll get in trouble for drinking. Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois all have a lifeline law.
For more information on the foundation, scholarships or upcoming events, click the following line: Zach Wardrip Foundation