The Daily Illini

Editorial: Honoring Brett Lerner’s memory

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Editorial: Honoring Brett Lerner’s memory

There are some people who seem to be everywhere at once; the rare individual who can simultaneously excel both at work and in school, and still have time to develop lasting connections with everyone they meet.

On Friday, the Illini Media Company and Zeta Beta Tau will honor one of those amazing people: Brett Lerner, our coworker and classmate who meant something to each person he touched before his tragic passing in October 2015.

We are hosting a kickball tournament, with all proceeds from entry fees going to the Brett Lerner Sports Broadcasting Memorial fund.

At the Illini Media Company, Brett was always busy, but never too busy to spare a moment of his time. He covered sports for The Daily Illini and was a cohost on Illini Drive. Many of us only got to see him for a minute before he had to jet off to other responsibilities. He juggled homework, a leadership position with his fraternity, an internship with WCIA and the Tay and J show. When you did get a chance to talk to him, Brett made a big impact.

Brett could talk sports, crack jokes and offer a helping hand to those who needed it. When people got the chance to see Brett work, they saw something special. Whether it was his dozens of pages of notes he prepared for his Big Ten Network Student U broadcasts or how natural he sounded on talk radio, Brett’s work ethic and talent were evident.

That’s why we have a copy of the front page we dedicated to him last year in our office, and why Brett’s family initiated a College of Media scholarship named after him. To preserve Brett’s love for journalism, we try our best here to honor his name.

While we remember someone who meant so much to us, we hope you’ll take a moment to call your loved ones or thank your friends for what they do in your life. Don’t forget about your coworkers, classmates and acquaintances that you see so often, such as your professors or people you simply wave to on the Quad.

This last year without Brett has taught us the importance of living life in the moment. Brett was someone who jumped at every opportunity and made sure that he was setting himself up for big things. He made sure that he was headed down the right path in college. He made sure to follow his dreams, and we wanted to reach higher because of his example.

Those important people in your life probably inspire similar emotions in you. Don’t take for granted the opportunity to let them know you appreciate them.

If we could, we’d tell Brett how appreciative we are for the motivation he inspired and the memories we shared.

On Friday, when we are out on the kickball field wearing shirts with his signature saying — “Alright boys, let’s do a radio show.” — his lasting impact will be on full display.

Correction: An earlier version of this editorial called the radio show the “Tay and Jay” show. It’s “Tay and J.” The Daily Illini regrets the error. 

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