Castleton State College professor Steve Lulek has come up with an idea to help the family of a recently deceased longtime friend.
“Mark Lapointe was a man who believed in family first, believed in living a quality life and believed that people mattered,” Lulek said in a recent interview.
Lapointe lost his battle with throat cancer on Oct. 16. Only 44 when he died, Lulek said Lapointe wanted nothing more than to provide for his family and lead his children to college in hopes of living the “American Dream.”
Lulek and Lapointe’s wife, Kate, have organized an event to raise money for Lapointe’s children’s education.
“A Thousand Sit-up Challenge” will be held at the Rutland Rock-Climbing Center on Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For this event you can make pledges on the giveforward.com website and type in Mark Lapointe Children’s College fund, or you can ask for pledges by creating your own sit-up team and then bring the money to the event.
For his part, from 10 a.m. to noon, Lulek will be doing his 1,000 sit-ups, solo.
Lapointe has two children; Tom, a sophomore, and Erin, a freshman, who both attend Rutland High School.
Lulek said he two kids are big into life, health, and music.
The fundraiser, Lulek said, furthers his and Lapointe’s philosophy that ” life is very important, and health is important.”
“We were always there for each other. We held each other accountable in our character, morals and in life. And we both believed that life mattered. We both believed in pushing life’s boundaries,” Lulek said.
Lulek said Lapointe’s life was taken away way too quickly and the event is meant to create awareness and to support not only Lapointe’s legacy, but also his family.
“Mark was such an amazing, engaging, caring man and when you talked to him he looked at you and listened,” said Lulek.
Lulek recalled working with kids one day when Lapointe looked at him and said “I don’t know if I am doing enough for others because I see how many people you help.”
Then Lulek said he looked at him and said “but you’re the best dad in the world. If I had a dad, I would want you to be my dad.”
And then the two men hugged, Lulek said.