Robbins’ memory to be vibrant at tourney
A few Tonganoxie residents plan to keep Andy Robbins' memory alive with an annual scholarship awarded during Tonganoxie High School commencement exercises.
To do that, Joshua and Lorelei Witt and Jon Snapp are working to establish the Andy Robbins Co-Ed Softball Tournament. The event will take place Aug. 23 and proceeds will go toward the scholarship.
Robbins died Sept. 9, 2002, from complications from Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone cancer usually found in children and young adults. The peak incidence is between the ages of 10 and 20 and is less common in children younger than 5 and adults older than 30.
Robbins was 24 when he died.
Now, nearly a year since Robbins' death, Lorelei Witt said her good friend deserved a tribute.
"We missed him a lot and we felt like we needed to do something in his name," Witt said. "I think it would make all of his friends feel better to do something for him."
Lorelei and her husband, Joshua, were roommates of Robbins until he became ex-tremely sick. Both Joshua and Snapp grew up in Tonganoxie with Robbins.
A 1996 Tonganoxie High graduate, Robbins was very friendly to everyone he met, Witt said. That might explain Robbins being crowned homecoming king his senior year.
In his memory, friends hope to have a scholarship in his name that the senior class itself will decide.
"We've decided to have the senior class vote for a citizenship award and just vote on one person who is someone like Andy -- a very friendly, caring person who is nice to everyone," Witt said.
"We hope to go by character."
All proceeds from the softball tournament will go toward the scholarship. The winning team will receive T-shirts and win back their entry fee, which is $100 per team.
The T-shirts already have been ordered and donations given.
Jeffrey's Farm and Supply in Bonner Springs, where Robbins was a manager, donated $100, while B&J Country Mart, Tonganoxie, and Frank's Place in Kansas City, Kan., each donated $50. Lorilei Witt's grandmother owns Frank's Place. Her family, the Garcias of McLouth, will provide concessions for the event as well.
A flier for the tournament states that 10 team spots are available, but Witt said they likely would welcome more. Already five or six teams have signed up for the event.
And organizers hope this will be the first of many Andy Robbins memorial tournaments.
"We want to do it every year but we want to see how it goes," Witt said.