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!

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Jason Plite Memorial Artistic and Swimmer Scholarships awarded June 12, 2020 at Jason’s family home.

We were thrilled to celebrate and acknowledge the many impressive accomplishments of 5 amazing GLHS seniors; Grace DeGeest, Grace Weston, Shelby Smego, Foster Anderson and Connor Schlagel, at a short scholarship presentations the evening of June 12
th, along with celebrating and remembering SrA Jason Plite.

Jason Plite, a Pararescueman in the U.S. Air Force, had an abundance of talent and special qualities. The “PJ” promise to the world is “That Others May Live”. Jason lost his life while on a mission to rescue two Afghani children, just after completing a mission that saved three severely injured Afghanistan Nationals, March 23
rd, 2003.

Grace DeGeest was awarded a $1,500 Artistic Scholarship. Grace fell in love with art at a young age after taking art classes at Ledge Craft Lane and walked away with such happiness and joy knowing art was something you wanted to do for the rest of your life. Grace will be attending LCC in the fall, with plans to transfer to Kendall College of Art and Design to study graphic design.

Grace Weston was awarded a $1,500 Artistic Scholarship. As a kid Grace loved to create, she had a passion for drawing flowers, crafting and molding polymer clay charms. Grace loved the feeling of creating things with her hands, that Art was an outlet, a way to express herself. Grace will be attending LCC in the fall, with plans to transfer to Kendall College of Art and Design, pursuing her dreams of becoming a Freelance artist through a studio art degree.

Shelby Smego was awarded a $3,000 Artistic Scholarship. We were touched and inspired by Shelby’s story of how art played such and incredible role in her life, overcoming some difficult hurdles at a very young age. She grew to love art and incorporated it into many facets of her life. She has used her talent and love of art to inspire other youth through mission trips and many community service projects. Shelby will be attending Hope College in the fall pursuing a degree in Business.

Foster Anderson was awarded a $3,000 Swimming Scholarship. Foster’s personal statement touched our hearts from the very first line with his compassionate life story. Foster’s determination and drive is impressive. We were excited to learn of his journey of becoming a varsity swimmer. We were inspired by the joy he embraced from being part of a strong encouraging team along with his perseverance and pride in achieving his personal swim goals. Foster will be attending Ave Maria University in quest of a degree in business.

Connor Schlagel was awarded a $3,000 Swimming Scholarship. Connor’s personal statement gave us an incredible insight to his passions in life, his commitment to achieving his goals and determination to serve others and our country. Connor had the desire to become a United States Navel Cadet at a very young age. He takes great pride in his leadership role as a varsity swim captain, his commitment to serve through community service projects and being promoted to Chief Petty Officer while in high school. Connor plans on becoming a Marine Engineer through the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

The Jason Plite Memorial Fund Board Members are so pleased to be able to honor these young individuals with financial support to achieve their educational goals. We are tremendously grateful for the continued support of Jason’s Memorial, through your donations Jason’s legacy continues on. Over the past 17 years we have awarded over $135,000 in scholarships to 51 Grand Ledge High School senior artists and swimmers.

With Gratitude – Jason Plite Memorial Fund board of directors & family

SAVE THE DATE - APRIL 9, 2021

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June 12, 2020 Scholarship Presentation

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Scholarship Recipients
Swimmers- Connor Schlägel & Foster Anderson
Artist - Shelby Smego, Grace DeGeest & Grace Weston



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Jason Plite Memorial Board of Directors


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Biography for Doris A. Thompson
Doris Thompson has been an art teacher with Grand Ledge Public Schools for thirty-four years. She spent sixteen years as the Hayes Middle School art teacher, teaching 6 - 7- 8th art classes, and ran an art club during each of those years. She spent four years teaching art for the Hayes Elementary K - 5th grades. During the past eighteen years, Doris has been as an art teacher for Grand Ledge High School, having had the experience to teach every art class that is offered at the high school. She ran a high school Art Club after school for five years. Doris has served as an Adjunct Faculty for Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids for eight years, teaching four of the basic Dual Enrollment art classes after school. Doris has served as the Fine Arts Department Head for the past fourteen years. She taught summer school art classes for 28 years to K-12 grades offered by the City of Grand Ledge and Grand Ledge schools.

Doris has been married to her husband David for forty-eight years. They have three adult children. Desiree’ works for the State of Michigan, in Lansing, David is finishing up his post-doctoral degree with the Wyss Institute, a division of Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and Danika is Director of Development for Associa Cares, in Dallas, TX. They have one grandson Daniel, and a new grandchild expected in early September.


Doris grew up in large German Catholic family of ten, on a big dairy farm in Saginaw County, Michigan. She learned the meaning of hard work, having to do chores at a very young age. Doris learned how to get along with others, and how to share growing up in her family. Doris always liked to draw and make things with whatever she could find. Her mom always made sure they had paper, pencils, and crayons, and would comment on how Doris’ drawings were very realistic, colorful, and
neat.


2019 DINNER OVERVIEW


The 16th annual Jason Plite Memorial Fund Dinner spotlighted the 2019 scholarship winners Devin Wieferich, Abigail Ford and Sam Konen. The memorial dinner held Friday April 12, was an evening of remembrance and celebration.

Jason Plite, a Pararescueman in the U.S. Air Force, had an abundance of talent and special qualities. The “PJ” promise to the world is “That Others May Live”. Jason lost his life while on a mission to rescue two Afghani children, just after completing a mission that saved three severely injured Afghanistan Nationals, March 23rd, 2003.

Devin Wieferich was awarded a $2,500 Artistic Scholarship. Devin’s wish is to create art so that the people who see it will feel the joy he has shared in creating the art piece. Devin is also an accomplished musician in the Grand Ledge High School Marching Band, a member of Boy Scout Troop 121 and the Civil Air Patrol. Devin will be attending Northern Michigan University in their Art and Design program

Abigail Ford was awarded a $2,500 Swimming Scholarship. Abigail has stated that the dedication and discipline she has learned from swimming has taught her much and the key to her success in the sport she loves. It has also carried over into her academics and other areas in life. Abigail loves helping others achieve their personal goals. Abigail will be attending University of Sioux Falls to become a Personal Strength and Conditioning Trainer/Coach.

Sam Konen was awarded a $5,000 Swimming Scholarship. Sam states he grew up fascinated by all things Military and has an intense desire to serve our country. Sam will be attending the United States Military at West Point. Sam is a member of the Grand Ledge National Honor Society and has served as a youth liaison for his church and has went on 6 mission trips. Sam plans on using his experience, drive and determination he has gain from swimming to complete the Survival Swimming Course at USMA.

We were honored to have Senior Master Sergeant Luke M. Naughton, Jason’s fellow Pararescuman, as our guest speaker. Luke gave a heartfelt, emotional, speech including some stories of he and Jason going through the Pararescue pipeline as comrades and best friends. The stories included the importance of camaraderie, teamwork, and the value of embracing fun and silly antics. Our dinner guests were deeply and profoundly touched by Luke’s speech.

The MSU Air Force ROTC “Silver Eagles” was present representing the U.S. Air Force, along with posting and retiring the Colors they performed an impressive Rifle Drill.

We are grateful for the continued support of our attendees, the Opera House, A Catered Affaire’, A Complete Rental, Gladstone Printing, Cakes a Bloomin and the many local and surrounding businesses and artists that donate items for the silent auction. It is through these combined efforts that Jason’s legacy continues on. Over the past 16 years we have awarded over $123,500 in scholarships to 46 Grand Ledge High School senior artists and swimmers.

With heartfelt thanks - The Jason Plite Memorial Fund Board of Directors.


2019 Scholarship Recipient’s
JPMF 2019 Scholars
Devin Wieferich, Abigail Ford, Samuel Konen


EVENT PHOTOS



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AUCTION ITEMS
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Keynote Speaker - Senior Master Sergeant Luke M. Naughton

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REMEMBERING JASON

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JASON PLITE MEMORIAL FUND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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Amanda McDonald, Colleen Austin, Alyssa Peterson, Shaynah Cooley, Dawn Peterson,
Sara Clark-Pierson & Mary Gwardzinski


JASON’S FAMILY
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Alyssa, Shaynah, Dawn & Charlie

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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:
info@jasonplitememorial.com