Tragedy struck the family of 34-year-old Waynesburg University alumnus Steven Ward Dec. 6, 2015, when he died unexpectedly.
The beloved son of George and Linda Ward died due to complications from the flu. The virus attacked his heart, leading to a stroke and a pulmonary embolism. He died Ward while being life-flighted from Washington Hospital to Allegheny Hospital.
At Waynesburg University, Steven Ward was extremely well-liked.
Family members describe him as always being happy. At his funeral, the family was stunned by the amount of people who came in and described Steven as being their “best friend.” Many people knew him as a friend, and somebody to confide in, because he always managed to make connections with people.
“Stevie was just, if you met him, you wanted to know him,” said Linda.
In the wake of such a tragic event, the Ward family decided to honor Steven by giving back to the community.
“We all knew the moment he passed away we wanted to celebrate his life,” said Steven’s mother, Linda Ward.
The family began working after his death by starting the Steven Bradley Ward Foundation. The foundation focuses on making donations to families with children who need care but do not have the financial means to pay for surgery or treatments.
After losing Steven Ward, the family is still happy to talk about him, and to talk about the foundation he inspired.
In the foundation’s first year, the family was able to donate $11,200 to people who needed it. The organization has two major events per year.
The Dec. 6 anniversary of Stevens death is fast approaching, marking two years since his death. The family held their second annual Snowball event Dec. 2. at the American Legion post 175 in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Next year, the foundation is excited to host their second annual summer event, taking place July 28. This cookout style party in Steven Ward’s memory consists of a picnic, a corn hole tournament, a whiffle ball home run derby and many more activities.
The family hopes to use the death of their son to make the community a better place, and to make a difference.
They are not afraid to talk about Steven Ward and what he meant to them.
Linda Ward said that Steven Ward made people happy and was there for them. They try to carry on that legacy by doing the same for the community.