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In the News Index

Source: Santa Cruz Style
Date: July 20, 2004
Byline: Peggy Townsend


Tragedy leads to help for local skater

LIZ KERR's voice still breaks when she talks about her son PATRICK, who was killed as he rode his skateboard on the sidewalk of a Philadelphia street two years ago.

Patrick was 15 when he fell off his skateboard and tumbled into the path of a tractor-trailer rig. An honor student, Patrick also was one of the leading opponents of the city of Philadelphia's decision to bar skateboarding from its famous Love Park, away from cars and trucks.

"To me, the horrible irony was that he was the one killed," said his mom.

But it helps her to know that a Scotts Valley teenager who fought — and won — the battle to have a skatepark built in his town is one of the recipients of a scholarship being given in her son's name.

LANCE DETTLE of Scotts Valley, 18, was recently awarded a $1,000 Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship.

"Pat was a real positive, upbeat kid," said his mom. "So we couldn't just let that go. We couldn't not recognize other kids like him."

Lance was one of 300 skateboarders who sent in their applications for the scholarship. Planning to attend Hawaii Pacific University to study communications and journalism, Lance wrote about his six-year struggle to get a skatepark built in Scotts Valley.

Ground was broken on the 20,000-square-foot park only three months ago.

Liz said the scholarship selection committee — which includes pro skateboarders TONY HAWK, JEN O'BRIEN and MIKE VALLELY and X-Games executive director JACK WIENERT — picked Lance for his determination and dedication to building a spot where skaters could safely practice their sport.

"I think, one day, Lance will end up a community leader," said Liz.

Other young scholarship recipients helped build skate parks in Homer, Alaska, and in the Nex Perce Tribal Reservation in Idaho.

Interestingly, one of those who helped choose Lance for the scholarship was EDMUND BACON, the 95-year-old designer of Love Park and father of actor KEVIN BACON.

Although he did not design the park with the skateboarding in mind, Edmund believes the use is in keeping with the park's purpose and spirit, according to articles about the campaign to open the park to skaters.

If you want to know more about the scholarships, you can visit skateboardscholarship.org.

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