In Honor of Shelby
Davis and Lisa Hudson remember their son Shelby as "very social." Not only was he outgoing, but was he had countless friends from the time he spent at Edmond Memorial High School (EMHS) and the University of Oklahoma.
"Shelby would always take the initiative and was more of a leader than a follower," Davis said. "He knew how to be a decision maker and took control of most situations."
From a young age, Shelby enjoyed sports. Over the years, he played soccer, flag football, basketball and baseball. As he grew older, Shelby began focusing his athletic talent on football and weightlifting.
After graduating from EMHS in 2003, Shelby enrolled at OU where older brother Brett attended, working toward an energy management major. Although not yet sure of his own major, Shelby was leaning toward business or an energy-related degree.
Just over a year after his high school graduation, Shelby decided to join the Oklahoma National Guard. His father remembered the day-September 10, 2004-when his son became a member of Detachment 1, Company A, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry.
As for what he enjoyed about military life, Davis said his son liked "the additional responsibility, camaraderie and, of course, some additional money."
Shelby was sent to Camp Gruber, just outside of Muskogee, for his annual two-week training session with the Guard. After completing twelve days of training, Shelby's unit was taken to Lake Tenkiller for a day of rest and relaxation, where they were served barbecue and were allowed to swim.
"He and several other members of his unit started jumping off some cliffs near the picnic area where they were spending the afternoon," Davis said.
Later that evening, around 7:00 p.m., a member of the National Guard showed up unexpectedly at the Hudson home, explaining to the family that Shelby had been in an accident.
Apparently, after jumping off the cliff, he had resurfaced quickly. Other members of Shelby's unit could tell something was wrong. They jumped in after him while others swam over from a nearby swimming area.
"Everyone from the picnic area came to his rescue," Davis said. "They just couldn't get to him fast enough."
The news left all the Hudsons, including younger brother Chase, in a state of disbelief. The family described the day Shelby drowned-May 24, 2005-as "the absolute worst day" of their lives.
"No one goes off to a two week summer camp and doesn't come home," Davis said. "There will never be another day as bad in my life."
The family found strength in prayer while more than 500 people attended Shelby's funeral. Over half were students along with more than 80 members of Shelby's unit.
"After Shelby's death we had many of his friends and several parents tell us some of the many good deeds and some crazy things that Shelby did that we as his parents never knew," Lisa said.
After months of grief, Davis decided to pay tribute to his son.
"I think most parents want to do something to honor their children-to try to keep their child's name from being forgotten," he said.
In August 2005, the first memorial was completed-a weightlifting record board at the EMHS football field house. Davis remembered Shelby's excitement at breaking a bench press record at the Adams Course.
"He was so excited when he broke the old record because now he would have his name on their record board," Davis said. "His name stayed on the record board for three years until it was broken."
Also during 2005, a memorial scholarship was established in Shelby's name. Recipients are chosen based on their "personal motivation and character, heart and desire to excel, drive and determination to accomplish goals and perseverance in the face of all obstacles."
"The scholarship is unique because there is no application to complete, but rather the recipient is chosen based on the qualities and characteristics that Shelby exhibited and stood for as a Bulldog player," Shelby's dad said.
To receive the $2,500 scholarship to the college or university of his choice, an individual must be a senior on the EMHS football team with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and planning to attend college. Davis added that the recipient does not have to play football in college.
The selection committee consists of a member of the Hudson family, the head coach of Edmond Memorial's football team, the school's athletic director and a member of the Edmond Public Schools Foundation, Inc., which administers the scholarship fund.
The Hudson family has high hopes for the future of this scholarship. They have received so much support in the first two years that they may one day be able to raise the amount of the award or add a second scholarship.
"With all the bad that is happening in the world around us today, it is good to reward a person with high moral standards and the characteristics that Shelby exhibited and stood for as a Bulldog player," Davis said. "With this scholarship, we hope that people will never forget the name of Shelby Hudson and we also hope that more students will try to become better persons."
For more information, contact the Edmond Public Schools Foundation, Inc. at P.O. Box 3103, Edmond, Oklahoma 73083 or call (405) 340-2819.