BOURBON – God got a good one on July 10, 2016.
Social media swarmed with the awful news on a sunny Sunday morning, in between chimes from church bells, that one of the true angels from Bourbon, Breanna Lemler, had passed away. A car accident in Madison, Alabama, where Lemler was working nearby as an intern for Bunge, where for whatever reason, she left the roadway in her car and didn’t survive the impact of a tree.
You can’t find a person around who has a bad thing to say about Bre, quite possibly, because Bre didn’t have anything bad to say about anyone. She was well-liked at home, seemingly involved in everything, and she was beloved with her adopted Purdue and Zeta Tau Alpha family, where she was about to become a senior. It doesn’t seem right, losing a pillar to so many communities. She was deeply involved with 4-H and has an accolade list that could fill a printer’s worth of paper. She also was a star athlete at Triton High School, where the school will become one of the flames to keep Bre’s light burning bright.
The scholarship, started by her sister Bethany and the Lemler family, is in Bre’s honor with the tagline #balllikebre. Its roots are simple in honoring one of the shining persona’s Triton has ever known, and continuing on her goodwill through the scholarship. The initial response will be Friday, Jan. 13, when Triton hosts Culver in a girls/boys basketball doubleheader. Shirts have been created and were selling well, the donations for the shirts aimed to cycle into the scholarship fund which is being produced through the Marshall County Community Fund.
The exact amount and requirements to earn the scholarship have yet to be ironed out, but will begin to be issued in 2017, according to Tim Lemler, Bre’s dad.
“We haven’t sat down with the Marshall County Community Foundation yet with the where and how, but we can say that we are extremely fortunate to have this created,” Tim said. “Likely there will be more than one scholarship. That is one of our goals with this. We would like to have one go through the school, one through 4-H and one through the Zetas.”
Bre, who was a three-sport star at Triton, played volleyball, basketball and track. Bre was on the last sectional championship basketball team at Triton in 2011. Both Heckaman and Tim Lemler both noted in similar fashion that Bre wasn’t the star player, but was a team leader. That leadership showed in several areas of her life, being named Triton’s Junior Miss, the Blueberry Festival Queen, both the fall and winter Homecoming Queen at Triton, and so many other acknowledgements. Bre is currently the school record holder in two track events, the 200-meter dash (26.40) and 400-meter dash (1:00.44), both set her senior year.
“Breanna was just a special kid, not just with our community, but all over Marshall County,” Heckaman said. “With her passing this summer, we wanted to make sure this scholarship becomes a legacy so people will know just how special she was and how important she was in this community.”
Tim Lemler, who is a Marshall County 4-H Poultry Leader, spoke with pride about Bre’s final year of 4-H, where the family won all four classes of the poultry show, which hadn’t been done before. All four of the classes – duck, chicken, geese and turkey – went to auction and half the money went to her college tuition and half was donated back to the Marshall County Fair.
“That was really special for us, and I know she was really excited to do that,” Tim said of the poultry awards. “She took a lot of pride in that, and that was something our whole family was proud of.”
Added lifetime friend Shana Anderson, who played all three sports with Bre up through high school, “We literally played sports together since fifth grade and even in little league. She really was the best teammate I ever had. She worked so hard every day at practice. She was a great all-around athlete. They need this type of scholarship. She was such a great person, and hopefully whoever wins it exemplifies what Bre was to everyone.”
So many lost an angel on Earth when Breanna Lemler passed away. But small gestures like the #balllikebre scholarship will help others understand just how fortunate we all were to have had her in our lives, and how her spirit will carry on.