Upon Jason's death March 23rd, 2003 we established the "Jason Plite Memorial Fund" ( a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization) in hopes of being able to give a gift to the Swimming and Art Departments (two of Jason's passions) of the Grand Ledge High School where he attended and graduated from in 1999. The Fund did so incredibly well we felt it was imperative that we incorporate the Fund,  appoint a Board of Directors, and establish it as a charitable/non-profit organization and continue to raise funds so that we can give out Grants and Scholarships to students in the Grand Ledge Community pursuing further education in Art and Swimming! We will continue to raise funds by holding an annual Fund Raising Dinner Event each April.

You are Cordially invited to the 14th annual Jason Plite Memorial Dinner

Friday April 14th 2017
5:30pm - 11:00pm
Opera House
121 S. Bridge St.
Grand Ledge MI
Cost $50 per person

We are looking forward to you joining us for a wonderful dinner, scholarship presentations, silent auction and our very special Keynote Speaker, Rebecca Schaeffer-Scott. For more information about attending please contact us through the link at the bottom of the page.


Rebecca Schaeffer-Scott

Rebecca Schaeffer-Scott is the 2005 recipient of the Jason Plite Memorial Swim Scholarship. She swam for Grand Ledge from 2001-2005. After school she moved to Grand Rapids where she studied at Grand Valley State University. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. After working and gaining valuable life experiences for a few years, she had a drive to give even more to her community and the world. In 2014, Becky went back to school to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and will complete her program this coming August. She enjoys sailing with her husband Aj, traveling to visit her brother Jeff who lives abroad in Singapore, working in the family beekeeping business with her parents, Joel and Susan, spending time with her husband’s family Steve, Cyndi, Alisha and Charlie and being an aunt to her adorable nephew Cooper.

2016 Dinner Event

The 13th annual Jason Plite Memorial Fund Dinner was held Friday April 15

th at the Grand Ledge Opera House. It was an evening of celebration and full of lasting memories. It was with great pleasure that we awarded 4 Jason Plite Memorial Fund Scholarships. The Jason Plite Memorial Fund would like to acknowledge Troy Anderson, Taylor Kehren, Allen Hendrick and Michael Wilson as this year’s recipients. 

Troy Anderson, was awarded a $5000 Swim Scholarship. Troy says that swimming is more than just countless laps. He has learned the benefits of time management, leadership skills and dedication to a sport he loves, as well as when he plays his trombone. Troy plans to attend Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Taylor Kehren, was awarded a $2500 Swim Scholarship.  Taylor’s dreams and determination has led her to Grand Valley State University where she plans to earn her degree in Physical Therapy. Taylor can’t wait to help others regain independence and heal properly.

Allen Hendrick, was awarded a $1,500 Art Scholarship.  Allan says he is excited to be attending Northern Michigan University and pursue a degree in Film as an Editor or Director and Graphic Design. Allen loves making short films and other Art with his friends.

Michael Wilson, was awarded a $1,500 Art Scholarship. Michael believes that anything created is art – be it a T-shirt, furniture, magazine, website, packaging, etc. He hopes to help people realize this. His goal is to make the world a more beautiful place as an artist/graphic designer. A degree he plans to earn while attending Northern Michigan University.

Sean M. Cunningham, SSgt, USAF (Ret.) Pararescueman (PJ), was our keynote speaker. Sean’s first assignment was the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, GA, where he and Jason met and quickly become PJ brothers. Sean shared stories of his many deployments until he was seriously injured in a parachute accident that nearly took his life. Sean was medically retired and faced many years of surgeries and rehabilitation. His message also included how in life you are faced with challenges and adversities, and that you can persevere through these challenges as a stronger and better person. His most profound message was the gift of how many lives one life can touch. He will be graduating this June from Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine as an Osteopathic Physician.

Special acknowledgements go out to; The MSU Air Force ROTC “Silver Eagles”, they were in attendance representing the U.S. Air Force, to post and retire the colors.  “Take Note of Grand Ledge” Barbershop Quartet performed the National Anthem eloquently. Hats off to Colleen’s Cuisine who once again provided an exquisite meal. With gratitude we recognize the Opera House, Gladstone Printing and David Chapman Agency, for their continued support and behind the scenes donations that make our dinner a great success.

The Silent Auction, which helps support our endeavors, has grown and offered a wide range of wonderful items from local businesses. Cugino’s, Carrabbas, English Inn, Sun Theatre, Eagle Eye, Hawk Hollow, Centennial and Timber Ridge golf courses, Palmer Bush & Jensen Funeral Home, and Painting with a Twist, were some of the contributors. Local artists and former scholarship recipients also contributed beautiful pieces, handcrafted jewelry, pottery, paintings, and much more.

Jason, like the select few that endure, and attain the honor, of being a Pararescueman, had an abundance of talent and special qualities.  The “PJ” promise to the world “That Others May Live” says it all, as Jason lost his life while on a mission to rescue 2 Afghani children, just after completing a mission that saved 3 severely injured Afghanistan Nationals.  This is why we share his passion and honor him every year at this dinner, providing scholarships for the outstanding students listed above.

To date the Jason Plite Memorial Fund has awarded 37 scholarships totaling $91,000.

We would like to recognize all the family, friends and the Grand Ledge Community whom continue to generously support the Jason Plite Memorial Fund. Least we not forget the Grand Ledge Independent who graciously print all our information regarding this event and keeps everyone informed.

The Jason Plite Memorial Fund Board of Directors

Scholarship Recipients
Swimmer - Troy Anderson

Artist: Michael Wilson & Allen Hendrick, Dawn Peterson & Swimmer Taylor Kehren









Sean M. Cunningham SSgt (Ret.) USAF
Keynote Speaker








the board
Mary Gwardzinski, Colleen Austin, Shaynah Peterson Alyssa Peterson, Dawn Peterson,
Sara Clark-Pierson, Pam George & Amanda McDonald,

Charlie, Dawn, Shaynah, Sean, Luke & Alyssa

Pararescue family!
Josh Johnston, Luke Naughton, Ryan Beckmann & Sean Cunningham

Thank you for your continued support and very generous donations. The support from our Community and throughout the USA has been overwhelming. This is such a special way to keep Jason's Memory alive, and to turn a tragedy into something good.  Your support and kindness is truly appreciated!

Send a tax deductible contribution to:
Jason Plite Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 81064 Lansing, MI 48908

For additional information, send an e-mail to following address: