Down Syndrome Parents Group of WNY Eric Hetzelt Memorial Scholarship
The WNY Down Syndrome community lost a great role model and the world lost a genuinely good man on December 30, 2015 with the sudden passing of 37 year old Eric Hetzelt. Eric was an inspiration to all who met him and proved that "disability" can equal "capability".
Eric was an accomplished athlete in swimming, bowling and baseball. He had a longtime involvement in Special Olympics, both as an athlete, and as a coach. Eric also participated in Challenged Athletes Participating in Sports, WNY (C.A.P.S.) He was an avid fan and supporter of all the Buffalo sports teams. Eric was also involved in the community as well as an usher at his church. Additionally, he worked part time behind the deli counter at the Wegmans on Alberta Drive for over 16 years.
Eric was a devoted son to Carol and Erwin Hetzelt, and loving brother to his three sisters and a fun, loving uncle to their children. His mother, Carol Hetzelt was the driving force, a true trailblazer in the formation of the Down Syndrome Parents Group of WNY. It was after Eric was born, that she recognized the significant lack of support and information for parents who have children with Down syndrome. It was her initiative that connected parents, health care professionals and community members together to share knowledge, and create awareness and acceptance for our children.