Message from FKCC President, Dr. Gueverra:

“As we prepare to usher in the unofficial start of summer with backyard barbecues, boating, and fireworks, I ask the community to join the FKCC family to reflect on why this day is special to all of us.  Memorial Day is a time to honor the memories of those who died for our country.  It is a time for heroes, both those who have fallen and those who are still living.  In an era when we are constantly challenged by acts of terror and threats that are themselves acts of terror, it is important to give a moment in gratitude to those whose sacrifices allow all Americans the privilege to live in the greatest nation while helping others to fight for and to share in the principles of democracy.

FKCC is grateful to all servicemen and women and their families for their dedication, commitment and sacrifice, and for their continued service to protect our freedom.  Over the years, the College has benefitted from the services of many veterans.  Each one deserves special recognition.  Today, I salute a fallen hero.  He has no Purple Heart medals or even any major meritorious awards.  While he also has no children or spouse, he has a mom, dad, two siblings, and many family and friends who mourn for him.

Luke Lowder was not yet 23 when he met his untimely death in a motorcycle accident on College Road in Key West. From all indications, he was returning home to his dorm room at the College when he collided with something or lost control of his recently acquired motorcycle.  While the FKCC family is still grieving his death, I want to share more about his life and service as a soldier.

Luke was born to Kimber Karst and Craig Young and grew up in North Carolina and Florida.  As a junior in high school, he began to pursue his dream of becoming an Army Ranger—training with the Army and local police force and dedicating any spare time to physical fitness.  Upon graduation from high school, Luke made it into the elite 75th Ranger Regiment on his first try.  At 18, he was the youngest Ranger.  He later went on to join the 1st Battalion 509th Airborne Infantry Regiment.  He was deployed to Germany and Afghanistan.  Luke earned Combat Infantryman, Expert Marksmanship, and Parachutist (aka Jump Wings) Badges as well as several medals, including one for his work in the Global War on Terrorism and in the Afghanistan Campaign, which included a Bronze Service Star.

After four years of exemplary service, he traded in his goal of being what he referred to as the “Ultimate Warrior” for becoming the “Ultimate Seaman.”  He chose FKCC to begin training for the next stage in his life.  He enrolled in the Diving, Business, and Technology program with plans to expand his studies to learn about marine engineering and navigation.

While Luke’s story ended too soon, the FKCC family will remember his adventurous spirit and kindness.  We salute him this Memorial Day and will continue to value his service and dedication to our country.”