Some people have a knack for bringing joy to others. Luke Anderson was such a person.
In his 19 brief years of life in Bulloch County, Luke, with his genuine kindness and servant’s heart for others, profoundly impacted those who knew him.
The son of Greg and Julie Anderson, Luke died in a single-vehicle accident Nov. 14, 2010, one day after initiation into the Sigma Chi Fraternity at Georgia Southern and just days before his twentieth birthday. From road markings and scene evidence, Anderson most likely suffered a seizure before wrecking his truck.
The outpouring of the community following his passing was palpable. Family members stood for more than seven hours greeting those who attended the visitation. A Sigma Chi Fraternity brother shared these words about Luke: “His friendship was enduring; his generosities were large, and his life an inspiration.”
Because of his unending love for others and desire for helping those in need, Luke’s parents knew they wanted to do something in his honor to leave a legacy for the community. From their grief and love for their son, paired with a strong faith in God and their own passion for God’s kingdom, Luke’s Project 11 came into being.
The inaugural Luke’s Project 11 fundraising event is set for Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Belle House with special guest Tyson Summers – Georgia Southern’s head football caoch. Tickets are available now and the public is invited to attend.
Julie Anderson reflected on her son’s life and said: “There was nothing he wouldn’t give a friend and no one he wouldn’t be friends with. He liked to be liked. The really funny thing is, he had nearly as many very young and adult friends as he did those his own age.
“It took a long time to get help to him [after the wreck] and even though he was an organ donor, it had been too long and nothing could be done. I just had to find a positive way for his life to give back to Statesboro and Bulloch County. He loved his home so much – he got that from his dad.
“This is our way of giving his heart to the whole community.”
Luke’s Project 11 was created to encourage people to find ways to leave a positive impact on their communities by serving. The project’s focus will strive to teach youth and young adults the value of servant leadership and the importance of taking personal responsibility for one’s sphere of influence, whether in their circle of friends, their school, their community or beyond.
Luke’s Project 11 will provide funding to individuals or organizations based upon a plan to leave a positive impact on their community. The projects receiving recognition and funding may be of a local nature, like the first recipient, Colin Chance, for whom books were purchased for use by a small group of athletes for Bible study.
Or, a global project like that of Register-native Cierra Crowe’s Delight in the Lord Ministries, may receive funding. Crowe is currently serving the needs of children in Uganda and received a contribution from Luke’s Project 11 just before she returned to Africa.
Julie Anderson pointed out, “We are based on Christian principles and ideals, but we want to help anyone whose goal is to make a positive impact; it is not limited to Christian missions. It is my belief that if we give this organization to God, he will show himself through it.”
Luke was no stranger to helping others, whether it was delivering meals to an elderly couple, one stricken with Alzheimer’s, and spending time talking about fishing and hunting while there or going on mission trips with his church, Statesboro First Baptist Church.
As a youth, he repaired roofs, painted homes, led Vacation Bible School and chaperoned younger kids’ events.
Greg Anderson said of his son: “He valued mentorship because he’d been mentored to by so many and he knew the value of reaching back to others.”
Luke embodied the spirit of Luke’s Project 11 – he loved baseball; he grew up playing rec ball and his jersey was number 11 for the Portal High School baseball team, a number the team has now retired in Luke’s honor – whether serving locally or far away, like the Dominican Republic.
During his freshman spring break, Luke traveled to the Dominican Republic with First Baptist’s College Ministry. Luke later wrote notes about his trip and an essay for a class assignment, saying, “This past week has taught me to be thankful for what I have. The people in the Dominican have nothing, yet they give everything.
“I feel like God wanted me to go on this trip. He wanted me to touch and be touched. I could feel God moving with me and through me. He never ceases to amaze me in the things that he does. One thing I have learned from this trip is do not go on a trip such as this and not expect to be changed, because you will be.”
To change and be changed – that’s what the Andersons hope will happen through their non-profit, Luke’s Project 11. For more information, go to the Facebook page or purchase tickets for the benefit dinner and live auction event at any Sea Island Bank location or Sew Much Fun for $35.