Inspirational Student Honored with Award
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 8, 2004) —
Michael Brent was a typical high school athletic star – he played basketball, baseball and golf. But this former Henry County High School student’s life took a different turn when he fell asleep at the steering wheel of his car, crashing it and leaving him paralyzed. That was in 1997. Fast forward to 2004 and you will see that Michael Brent is still a star – shining bright in life. Brent, a senior broadcast journalism major in the University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information Studies, will receive UK’s Adelstein Award at 3:30 p.m. April 8th in 206 Student Center on the UK campus. The award is given by the UK Disability Resource Center Brent, a senior broadcast journalism major in the University of Kentucky College of Communications and Information Studies, will receive UK’s Adelstein Award at 3:30 p.m. April 8 in 206 Student Center on the UK campus.
The award is given by the UK Disability Resource Center to students with disabilities who are inspirations to others. “As a fraternity brother of Mike’s, I can vouch for his character, and I struggle to find a weakness,” said Daniel J. Kelly, president of UK’s Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. “Even when things aren’t going his way, he never gets down; rather, he accepts the challenges and meets them head on.” Yvonne Cappe, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, nominated Brent for the award. “The broadcast journalism path is a demanding path for any student, but most students confined to a wheelchair wouldn’t even attempt it,” Cappe said. “With the help of classmates working under his direction, Michael has managed the reporting, videography and editing of television news stories.”
Lisa A. Brown, director of student and multicultural affairs in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, another nominator, said what she admires most about Brent is his outlook on life. “Michael is a remarkable young man who exudes warmth. He commands your respect because he is so determined,” Brown said. “He once remarked to me that he has been able to reach more people in his wheelchair than when he was able to walk.” “That,” she said, “is an understatement.”
The Adelstein Award is named for the late Carol S. Adelstein, wife of retired UK English professor Michael Adelstein. Carol, who used a wheelchair because of polio, was an inspiration to persons with disabilities by leading a meaningful, successful life at a time when individuals with disabilities were not encouraged to be independent and contributing members of society.
Michael was born on July 11, 1979. From day one it seemed as if he were destined for great things. By the time he was five years old his athletic skills were escalating. Michael gathered many accolades and honors at the end of his senior year both athletically and academically. After offers from many states and schools, he accepted a golf scholarship to Campbellsville University. Only weeks before he was to leave for his first day of college, Michael endured his injury, spending several months in the University of Louisville Trauma Center and Frazier Rehab institute recuperating and rehabbing to face his next challenge… learning to live life in a different way.
Michael went on to continue his college career at the University of Kentucky earning his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2004. He also was awarded UK’s Adelstein Award, given to students with disabilities who are an inspiration to others. He returned to school in the fall of 2004 to pursue his Master’s degree and work as a reporter for the “Cat’s Pause”, a weekly print and online publication, about the University of Kentucky sports programs. Michael was also an active member of the Phi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
On April 17, 2007, only two and a half weeks before time to receive his Master’s degree, Michael suddenly became ill, suffered a perforated ulcer and passed away within hours of the onset, leaving behind a legacy of his own. Just as Michael faced life with a vengeance, he also faced death with it as well.
Michael brought years of joy and happiness to so many. His strength, faith, determination and “never say never” attitude taught us all how to live. From the moment of his accident, Michael did not feel sorry for himself. He worried about those around him and how they were surviving it. His smile was one that people saw for miles and will remember forever. His will to live a full life, no matter what the obstacle, is something we all learned from him. Michael set an example like no other. What he accomplished in 27 years is more than most will accomplish in a full lifetime. Godspeed Michael Brent.
"Michael is a remarkable young man who exudes warmth. He commands your respect because he is so determined."
- Lisa A. Brown
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