EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A local family has created a foundation in honor of their son, who passed away just over two years ago.
Zach Wardrip attended a fraternity party at Murray State University back in April 2018. Shortly after midnight, Wardrip was taken to an apartment where he was left alone until the next day, and passed away from alcohol poisoning.
”The people telling Zach to ‘Chug! Chug! Chug!' - we know that environment is what made Zach drink like he did," Jerry Wardrip, Zach’s father said. “If Zach wouldn’t have been at Murray State, he still would be here today."
Similar to many people around his age, Zach’s father said his son enjoyed spending time with friends, but also loved taking part in outdoor activities.
”He loved to hang out with his friends," Jerry said. “He loved his truck. He loved to hunt and fish. He loved the outdoors. Anything to do with the outdoors he would love, and we would support him 100 percent.”
Jerry and Lisa Wardrip created a foundation in Zach’s name to educate more people about the dangers of alcohol poisoning, as well as more about the Indiana Lifeline Law.
“If someone has had too much to drink, they have immunity where they can call 911 and they won’t be prosecuted," Jerry said. “We just want kids to know that it’s okay to call or text 911 - if one of their friends are in a medical emergency."
The foundation gives back as well to kids who are focusing on vocational fields like welding, which was one of Zach’s passions.
On Saturday, Jerry and Lisa will be giving away four scholarships.
”I think Zach’s got a huge smile on his face in heaven right now, looking down saying, 'Mom, Dad - I’m proud of what you’re doing," Lisa said. “Zach was all about helping others."
“It’s hard to talk about Zach every day to people, but we also know at the same time if we can save one child by telling his story and talking to them about the dangers of binge drinking, then we have to push through that pain to keep another family, another parent from dealing what we’ve dealt with," Jerry said.
Click here to learn more or to donate towards Zach’s foundation.