CHP officer says Buttonwillow Explorer Post established "100% due to Christian's efforts."
The young Taft Union High School student who was a driving force behind the establishment of a California Highway Patrol Explorer Post locally and inspired people with a courageous 10-month battle against cancer is being remembered through a scholarship in his name.
Last week, two TUHS CTEC law enforcement students were awarded the $500 Christian Simpson Memorial Scholarships by a lieutenant and sergeant from the Buttonwillow CHP office.
CHP officer Adam Taylor is the advisor for the explorers and said the post was something Simpson pushed to get started.
"In 2015 when Christian was 17 years old, he told me his goal was to be a CHP Officer and asked why Buttonwillow CHP didn’t have an Explorer Post," Taylor said. "I started the process of establishing a post at Buttonwillow CHP for the local kids."
A couple of months later, Simpson was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
But that didn't stop the young man.
"Our explorer post is up and running now 100% due to Christian's efforts," said Taylor. "During his sickness he never lost sight of his goal and lived his life serving others, even when he was battling for his life. He earned his explorer badge before he passed away, becoming the first explorer with the Buttonwillow CHP Post."
Simpson lost his battle with cancer on May 15, 2016, and his explorer badge #1 was retired by the CHP the day of his celebration of life four days later.
In another tribute, the CHP Explorer Christian Simpson Memorial Scholarship was established.
The first award was made to Pantera Bush in June 2017.
Last week, two scholarships were awarded.
Lieutenant MaKenna Kirby and Explorer Cadet Hunter Thomas received the scholarships from Lt. Shaun Crosswhite, the Buttonwillow office commander, and Sgt. Maria Pagano.
"At the end of the 2018 school year we had two explorers who had exhibited the positive traits set by Christian," Taylor said. "They were leaders in volunteer hours, academics, and most importantly they proved themselves worthy by living their lives selflessly by serving others."
Both plan to become CHP officers after college.