According to family and friends, Brad Tofteland was one of the good guys.
He wasn’t at the top of his class, the best wrestler or even the most outgoing, but the 2000 Waukee High School graduate didn’t seem to mind.
“Brad completely undersold himself,” said Emily Donovan, Tofteland’s sister. “He didn’t think he was as smart or as talented as other people. He didn’t really apply himself either, but he was funny and warm-hearted and he would give his last dime away before he paid his own rent. That’s just the kind of person he was.”
That’s why the events of Oct. 27, 2006, were all the more painful for those who knew him. Tofteland died in a car accident that day. He was 24.
Channeling their grief into good, Tofteland’s family started the Brad Tofteland Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship given to wrestlers and managers from the Waukee High School wrestling program.
Why wrestling? Because the Tofteland family – Brad included – was heavily involved in the sport. Brad was a wrestler. His sisters and mother were managers and volunteers at the meets. You could say it was a family affair.
“It was the day of the funeral and it just came to me that this was the right thing to do for Brad,” said Joy Tofteland, Brad’s mother. “If you ever participated in wrestling, it’s like a family. The kids spend a lot of time together at tournaments. It just felt like something that Brad would have wanted us to do.”
The one-time $500 scholarship is given to anyone involved with wrestling at Waukee High School. Applicants must maintain a 2.5 GPA their first semester in school to receive it, something Tofteland’s family says Brad would have found humbling.
“Brad wasn’t an overachiever,” said Donovan. “We knew there were other people out there who were just like him. They needed to get a break so you could see their potential.”
Chad Vollmecke, Waukee High School’s head wrestling coach, remembers Tofteland as a "good kid."
“He was spunky and fiery,” said Vollmecke. “He had his own way of doing things. He was strong-willed but also a great teammate – someone you could always trust.”
He said the scholarship really opens doors for both wrestlers and managers from the Waukee program who may not qualify for other scholarships. He also said it’s a great way to honor Brad’s memory and dedication.
“It isn’t just something to remember him by,” said Vollmecke. “It’s attached to criteria and expectations and that’s a living, breathing thing. Kids have to qualify to earn it and act in such a way to keep it.”
The Brad Tofteland Memorial scholarship is financed in part by the Waukee Youth Wrestling program, sponsors and private donations. Monies raised at the Brad Tofteland Memorial Youth Wrestling Tournament, held at Waukee High School this Saturday, are also donated.
If you would like to make a donation to the Brad Tofteland Memorial Scholarship fund, send checks to:
Bank of the West
c/o Brad Tofteland Scholarship
7465 Ashworth Road
West Des Moines, IA 50266
If you would like to apply for the scholarship or know someone who would qualify, letters of application can be sent to:
32033 Skyridge Drive
Waukee, IA 50263
Past Brad Tofteland Memorial Scholarship recipients are as follows:
2008 - Andrea Breuer, Drew Love, Eric Mullen, Lacey Snyder
2009 - Jeff Sand
2010 - Skylar Bjork, Chris Hallinan, Danny Housholder, Christopher Wedemeyer
2011 - Jordan Wachter, Evan Griffith, Joe Wilson, Collin Mundus, Abi Rouw, Evan Breuer
For more information on the scholarship, go to the Brad Tofteland Memorial Scholarship Facebook page.