BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It has been five years since the All-American Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen died in a tragic car accident after a late night with friends.
Monday his dad, Mike Lutzenkirchen, was at Thompson High School to deliver a sobering testimony to students as they prepare for homecoming.
"I know Philip is very well aware of what we’re doing. I’m confident that he’s proud of what we’re doing. I am confident that the day I get to connect with my son again in heaven is going to be extraordinarily special, but I cry every day,” he explains.
It has not gotten any easier, but the calling has gotten clearer. The Lutzenkirchen has turn this tragedy into a purpose with the Lutzie 43 foundation.
Speaking to young students about the importance of choices, and how it only take one bad choice to change a life. They have spoken at over 420 events and estimate they have reached 200,000 people with this message.
Noah Tanner is a Thompson High School Senior and grew up an Auburn fan. He remembers how shocked he was to hear the news.
“This is the corner. There was an accident last night and Philip is dead,” Mike Lutzenkirchen tears up as he relives the moment.
A star football player loved by some many fans not just because of his impact on the field, but more so because of life’s he impacted with his heart.
“It’s humbling and shell shocking at the same time. At the same time you realize that could’ve been you, or that could’ve been one of your friends,” Tanner goes on, “You go to football practice every day and you don’t think about what’s going to happen to me this weekend or what’s going to happen to me in the next hour.”
“Please learn from this. This is not a classroom that is science or math. This is a real world classroom and I truly just don’t want other parents to be in my shoes," Lutzenkirchen states.
Even though Philip is no longer here, the legacy of his loving life will live on decades to come.