Vincent “Troy” Williams was just 24 years old when he died in a work-related accident on the North Slope in 1987. When his family heard recently of another young man killed in a work accident, “The loss of his life brought back a flood of emotions and memories of what our family went through when we suddenly lost Troy,” shared his sister, Kristi Williams-Cuttriss.
“While there is nothing we can do to prevent such tragedies from happening, we can try to turn the negative energy of pain into something positive, to fill the void in our hearts with love and remembrance, and we can do it in a good way. Creating a memorial scholarship is how our family chose to turn the pain of losing Troy into something positive,” she said.
The family is asking for support for a new Doyon Foundation scholarship, the Vincent Troy Williams Memorial Scholarship, designed to help college students with children afford the rising costs of higher education.
“We created the scholarship because we know that what we give and what others give today will collectively help future generations attend college. Creating this opportunity for others is important not only for our family personally, but for our entire community,” Williams-Cuttriss said.
The first scholarship will be awarded for the 2015 – 2016 academic year, and the amount is dependent on the total raised. At this time, it will be a one-time payout, although the family hopes to establish it as an ongoing scholarship fund.
“While it is a challenge to raise enough money for a scholarship to be sustainable as more than just a one-time gift, we know that the people of the Interior are some of the most generous people on the planet and we believe that over time this scholarship will continue to thrive and create opportunities for others while honoring Troy’s life and legacy,” Williams-Cuttriss said. To date, scholarship funds have been raised through donations made by guests at the wedding of William’s sister and her husband, Ben, as well as contributions made by shareholders at the Doyon, Limited annual meeting.
“We are ever thankful for the shareholders who have already contributed so generously to Troy’s memorial scholarship,” Williams-Cuttriss said. “We encourage others to make donations to the Vincent Troy Williams Memorial Scholarship fund. By keeping the scholarship funded, shareholders with children will have the opportunity to afford college in the future and by doing so will help us honor Troy’s life.”
The family shared that “everyone who knew Troy loved him for his charm, charisma and great sense of humor. He had an infectious laugh, a big heart and loved his family to no end. He was a devoted father to his 3-year-old daughter and worked tirelessly to provide for his family. He graduated from Lathrop High School, worked on the slope, and attended classes at the University of Fairbanks, working toward a degree in petroleum engineering. Troy was an avid outdoor adventurer who loved to travel, ride motorcycles, scuba dive and water ski. One of his daughter’s earliest and fondest memories was a trip to Disneyland with her dad.”
Troy is survived by his daughter Amber Williams-Hyland and her two children, Sylas and Tenzin; his paternal grandmother May Speck of Nenana; mother Blanche “Bess” Williams of Ft. Yukon; father William “Spud” Williams of Nenana/Tanana; brother Patrick “Danny” Williams of Fairbanks; sister Kristi Williams-Cuttriss of Anchorage; and nephew Liam.
Those interested in supporting the new scholarship may mail a check to Doyon Foundation at 615 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701, or make an online donation via the Doyon Foundation website, making sure to note that the donation is for the Vincent “Troy” Williams Scholarship.