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Who is Justin?

Out of tragedy, hope springs eternal. Even in death, there is triumph.

This scholarship honors the memory of Justin Blake Weaver, a beloved son, brother, and friend. A Thomaston, Connecticut resident, Justin was just 19 years old when he died tragically in June, 2018.

The middle child of three, Justin spent most of his time with his siblings, older brother Joshua and sister Brooke, friends and extended family. A funny, carefree part of a devoted family who lived in a tight-knit neighborhood, Justin was a typical teenager: he rode quads, hung out at neighborhood bonfires, loved fishing, attended sporting events, and nurtured his pets, including his beloved chickens.

Justin attended local schools and was a 2017 Waterbury Arts Magnet High School graduate. Justin, a capable violinist who was particularly proud of his ability to read music, played the violin throughout middle school and high school and played first string in a multitude of concerts at the renowned Palace Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Always pragmatic and self-reflective, rather than pursue a high-tuition college degree, Justin decided to enroll in a welding certification program at a local community college to foster a specialized skill. Justin’s first welding class was during the 2018 spring semester, with plans for program completion in the summer of 2018, after which he intended to become certified in underwater welding. Justin, wearing his infectious smile, enthusiastically and confidently shared his goals with his friends and family, all of who believed that the sky truly was the limit for him.

Justin’s zest for living and the love of his family couldn’t shield him from his premature death in June 2018.

Like many young people, Justin had intermittently experimented with recreational drugs. One fateful night in June, he took a Xanax that had been contaminated with the powerful painkiller Fentanyl. Within hours, this kind-hearted, family-devoted, light in so many lives was extinguished and his memory shrouded in the unfair stigma of overdose. The tragedy that befell Justin is now coined drug induced homicide which bestows legal culpability on those who intentionally lace recreational drugs with lethal additives like fentanyl, considered fifty times more potent than heroin, resulting in more annual deaths than gun violence and motor vehicle accidents *.

One decision does not define a life.

Our hope, through this scholarship fund in Justin’s memory, is to positively impact applicants with not just an educational opportunity, but awareness to make careful decisions in their lives given the dangers that lurk. Justin’s own goals and dreams, while never realized, can be honored by helping another achieve theirs, something for which Justin would be very proud.

If you are chosen as the recipient of the Justin B. Weaver Scholarship Fund for the Trades, please know that you will be part of Justin’s legacy and in some small way, he will be part of yours.

* National Institute on Drug Abuse