SALT LAKE CITY — Major Brent Taylor’s birthday is July 6, when he would have turned 40, and his widow, Jennie Taylor, is using the occasion to jumpstart efforts to raise funds for a foundation named in his honor.
“What better way to launch this new memorial organization than with a celebration of Brent’s life, and what better timing than next weekend as we all pause to recognize the many freedoms we enjoy as a nation?” she said Thursday.
The overall goal is to raise $160,000 for the Major Brent Taylor Leadership Legacy Foundation to fund scholarships at the two universities he attended, Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. More immediately, she and other foundation boosters hope to raise $40,000 between now and a birthday celebration set for July 6 at North Ogden Park, 2685 N. 500 East in North Ogden. The birthday party, open to the public, goes from 5-8 p.m.
The aim of the foundation is to provide a $60,000 undergraduate scholarship to Brigham Young each year and two $50,000 scholarships each year to the University of Utah, one for student pursuing a master’s degree and the other for a doctorate student. Taylor received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young. He had a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Utah and was working toward a doctorate, posthumously awarded to him by the school.
The foundation goal “is to see to it that Brent’s service-oriented leadership style lives on by providing academic scholarships and ongoing training opportunities for future and current leaders alike,” Jennie Taylor said. She announced creation of the foundation and the birthday party plans at a press conference Thursday at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City.
Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden and a major in the Utah Army National Guard, died in November while nearing the end of a year-long military deployment to Afghanistan. He was killed by a member of the Afghani special forces contingent he was helping train who turned on him and attacked him.
Jennie Taylor also used Thursday’s announcement to thank the public for the outpouring of support she and her seven kids have received since her husband’s death. “I cannot overstate how much of my strength and even the ability to get up and going each day comes from knowing there are so many people who are mindful of us and keeping us in their prayers,” she said.