Christie Heslip, of Blacksburg, has endowed a scholarship through the New River Community College Educational Foundation to honor her husband Louis Heslip’s legacy and his life. Heslip died unexpectedly of a cardiac arrest last May.
Louis Heslip grew up in Christiansburg and joined the Marines after graduating from high school. He aspired to work in law enforcement and in 1998 he joined the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Over the years, he worked his way up to the rank of captain, while also being a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. Heslip also loved cycling and taught classes at the Weight Club in Blacksburg.
Heslip was passionate about helping others succeed, especially in his department. He invested his time and energy into his shift at the Sheriff’s Office and helped the officers develop leadership skills. He would put together mock panels to help people with interviewing skills. Leadership was something Heslip saw as very important, Blacksburg Police Chief Anthony Wilson said.
“He truly was a great person. Louis had a belief that hard work produced results and he constantly strived to put his ‘all’ into those around him,” says Capt. Brad St. Clair of Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. “He believed in everyone, even those who didn’t believe in themselves. It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, he would invest his time in helping make you a better person. He strived to provide a positive, encouraging environment while instilling the belief that ‘circumstances are not simply how things are, they are what we make of them.’ Louis was a tremendous influence on our office. His attitude was infectious in that it made people want to achieve more and strive to be better in all aspects of their life.”
Christie Heslip says that Louis had a way of making every person he met feel special and that he loved life. “Louis had a passion for life like no one I have ever met and that passion always made the impossible seem possible,” she says.
After Louis died, Christie says she wanted to be an advocate for others in his memory. Along with starting the NRCC scholarship, she has also helped create Captain Louie’s Future Leaders, renewed his leadership endeavor Project 14 and is working to start a new program “Live Your Dream.” Christie says these are things she believes Louis would have done if he had the opportunity.
“Louis Heslip was the most selfless human being I’ve ever known. In law enforcement he was always the positive force, the connection between agencies, the humble and so talented professional,” said Chief Wilson. “He studied this profession and the art of leadership. He read and embraced any article he could find that described guiding folks to success. We laughed together so many times as the real truth was that all he needed to do was look in the mirror to see natural and amazing leadership. In his passing, I saw that the real Louis was not just that person to law enforcement, he was that person to the world. He had mentored so many, encouraged and motivated folks from all walks of life and all age groups. He never placed himself above any other and served all of humanity with kindness, compassion and unconditional love. He was a true champion, a knight in a modern world.”
The Lewis “Louis” J. Heslip Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually to an NRCC student who is a well-rounded individual that acts as a leader in the community and classroom and views the “sky as the limit.” The individual encourages, inspires and empowers those around them to be a difference maker. The scholarship will begin this fall and is for four semesters of study at NRCC. The student will receive $1,500 each year.
“I would like to thank the community for all of their help and support in making the scholarship possible so quickly,” says Christie Heslip.
More information about NRCC Educational Foundation Endowed Scholarships may be obtained by contacting Angie Covey at 540-674-3655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Submitted by Kelly Kaiser