Niagara Gazette — When Mike Paul, a 25-year-old Falls resident, was killed in a motorcycle accident last year, a shocking public tribute opened the eyes of those closest to him.
They’ve decided to make good out of the tragic accident that claimed his life and have started a foundation in his name.
Matt Cole, Paul’s cousin, said the foundation is designed to honor both Paul’s devotion to justice and his addiction to hard work. It accomplishes its goal by awarding a scholarship to at least one criminal justice student at the school he’d been working through, Niagara County Community College.
“Mike was in the final steps to become a police officer when he was killed,” Cole said. He’d gone through the process again and again. He kept getting rejected, but he would never give up. and when he was going through everything, he was working two full-time jobs. We wanted the primary beneficiary of the foundation ... to be like him, a diamond-in-the-rough type of person who struggles for what he or she gets with a never-give-up attitude.”
The first major fundraiser to help the scholarship award was held this past Saturday, and Cole said the turnout was special. Though he wouldn’t put a dollar figure on the amount it raised, he said the event succeeded in reaching the goal.
But the roughly 200 people who stopped by the St. John de LaSalle parish on Buffalo Avenue a week ago paled in comparison to the support Paul received at his funeral just after he was killed while riding his motorcycle in June 2012 at the intersection of Niagara Falls Boulevard and 68th Street. He struck a vehicle, driven by then-21-year-old Shana Wallace, of Lockport, turning left in front of him and died as a result.