Education Empowers

Darin believed education was a key to winning the war on terrorism. We cannot continue his work in Afghanistan, but we can carry on his mission of education in our community.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

CCHS Class of '86 Will Preserve the Memory of J. Darin Loftis

On February 25, 2012, Lt Col John Darin Loftis, a 1986 graduate of Calloway County High School (CCHS), and a Special Operations officer with the U.S. Air Force, was shot and killed in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Fluent in Pashto, he also spoke Dari, the local languages. Darin was back in Afghanistan for his second tour. His service in the Air Force was highlighted by his search for a different approach to American military presence in Afghanistan in which the military worked side-by-side with the Afghan military and police to resolve issues of public safety with respect for religion and tradition.  He had been given the Pashto name of Esan, meaning the quality of being generous.

When the news media broke the story of Darin’s death in the shooting of two officers inside the highly secured Afghanistan Interior Ministry, his CCHS classmates began to share their memories on Facebook, email, and on the phone.  As a high school student, Darin excelled in languages and the sciences, but his wide-ranging interests also included playing the oboe in the high school band as well as participating in track, football, and tennis.  He was voted Most Studious by his classmates his senior year. He went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University and serve in the United States Peace Corps before beginning his service in the U. S. Air Force. During the course of his Air Force career, he earned three master’s degrees. Darin demonstrated a life of service and lifelong learning.

Based on their conversations on Facebook and email, members of the 1986 graduating class have set a goal to raise $30,000 over the next five years to fund an endowed scholarship in his name to honor and remember Darin’s service and commitment.  The scholarship will be awarded annually to a CCHS senior demonstrating academic excellence, interest in international affairs, and community service.  Indicators may include intent to study foreign languages, academic record, and volunteerism.   Pledges presently total about $7500.  The class is hoping the community will choose to support this scholarship fund in honor of Darin’s military service.

Class members recognized their own limitations to accept and manage funds and researched community foundation options available in Kentucky, and identified the Community Foundation of West Kentucky, which has a Murray-Calloway County affiliate.  The Community Foundation accepts contributions for scholarship funds and other community purposes and assures that that the funds are managed in compliance with donor intent for the long-term.

Contributions to the fund may be made via check to the Community Foundation of West Kentucky, P.O. Box 7901, Paducah, KY 42002 with a note in the memo field, John Darin Loftis Scholarship Fund.