It was a pleasant afternoon on February 26, 2005. I had just finished baking a cake for my wife when the doorbell rang.

My heart sank when Sheila opened the door, revealing a Marine lieutenant colonel and two other Marines behind him. I knew then and there that we were about to be told some very bad news.

The colonel was invited in and asked us to sit down.

Hugging my wife tightly, we listened as he began telling us that our youngest son, Andy, had been killed in action earlier in the day. Most of the other words that he spoke that afternoon were lost on us as we tried to cope with the loss of “Ace”.

After they left, we began the process of making our own notifications. Many were difficult to do. For example, I had relatives in New Jersey go visit my Dad so that he had someone there when I called to give him the news.

The following day, one of my business partners came to visit and strongly suggested that we start a scholarship fund in Andy’s name. We quickly embraced the suggestion and, within days, the Andy Nowacki Memorial Scholarship came to life.