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Endowed scholarship to be awarded in perpetuity to River Hill High School student

The family of Lance Mercy established an endowed scholarship at the Community Foundation of Howard County (CFHoCo), which raises, manages and distributes funds to support Howard County nonprofits. The Lance Christopher Mercy Scholar-Athlete Scholarship will award a minimum of $1,000 each year to a graduating senior at River Hill High School.

The scholarship is offered in memory of Lance Christopher Mercy, who died in a car accident in May 2020. Mercy graduated from River Hill High School in 2018 and had just completed his sophomore year at Florida State University, where he majored in accounting and professional sales.

“Lance had such positive experiences both academically and athletically at River Hill,” his mother, Tricia Mercy, said. “We knew we wanted to honor his memory by establishing a scholarship that would benefit future Hawk scholar-athletes. Lance’s involvement in the River Hill football and lacrosse programs helped shape him into the confident, hardworking young man we all loved and enjoyed so much. Our family recognizes the lifelong values that team sports provide and the importance of a high-quality education. We are proud to remember Lance in a way that will help future River Hill athletes reach their educational goals.”

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Mercy’s parents, Jeff and Tricia Mercy, established a temporary memorial fund at the community foundation. A temporary memorial fund provides a grieving family a place to direct tax-deductible donations in memory of a loved one. The foundation invests the donations, handles the accounting, provides tax receipts to donors and contributes the accumulated funds to a qualified nonprofit organization under the family’s direction at no charge.

Mercy’s family and friends contributed the $20,000 minimum to convert the memorial fund into a permanent endowed scholarship fund.

“It’s been a privilege to support the Mercy family through this process as they honor the memory of Lance and secure his legacy at River Hill High School,” said Dan Flynn, director of development, marketing and communications at CFHoCo. “This is also another example of how CFHoCo is here for Howard County. We’re proud to offer many services and expertise to help people meet their philanthropic goals.”

About Lance Mercy

Mercy was a defensive end on the River Hill High School football team, which he helped lead to a county championship during his senior year. He was also a key defenseman and defensive captain for the lacrosse team.

“Lance was an outstanding student-athlete at River Hill High School,” said Brian Van Deusen, a math teacher and head football coach for the Riverhawks. “As a starter on the varsity football and lacrosse teams, he demonstrated strong leadership qualities and a great work ethic both on the field and in the classroom. Lance was always enthusiastic during practices and strived to be the best player he could be.”

Mercy worked as a camp counselor for several summers at Camp Hemlock in West Virginia. He led weeklong hiking and canoeing trips and performed skits during nightly campfires. Mercy built lasting bonds with his friends, whom he valued, supported and empathized with and treated everyone with kindness, acceptance and respect.

“I can honestly say that Lance was one of the most selfless players who I have had the privilege to coach,” said Keith Gonsouland, an English teacher and head lacrosse coach at River Hill High School. “He provided quiet leadership. He was a young man who always did the right thing. Lance became a captain because the coaching staff and team respected his work ethic. He was never about bragging or boasting. Instead, he put the work in to be the best teammate and player that he could be.”

Mercy’s life motto can be summed up in six words: work hard, have fun, be kind. Lance Christopher Mercy Scholar-Athlete Scholarship recipients reflect Mercy’s attitude toward life and continue his legacy.

The Community Foundation of Howard County serves as a knowledgeable, trusted partner that forges connections between donors and nonprofit organizations to provide impactful investments in Howard County. The foundation has awarded more than $25 million in grants to organizations delivering human service, arts and cultural, educational and civic programs. Money for the grant programs comes primarily from income generated by the foundation’s endowment supported by more than 300 funds established by Howard County businesses, families and individuals. For more information, visit CFHoCo.org or call 410-730-7840.

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Scott E