Matt Thuente was a reliable, trustworthy friend.
Emily Pollock, 24, was looking for a way to keep Matt's memory alive after his death last year of cancer.
The two were part of tight group of friends who've stayed in touch since graduating in 2005 from Eagan High School. So Pollock turned to their friends when she came up with the idea of raising money for a scholarship.
A simple Facebook event notice drew $1,500 in pledges in three hours. Eventually, $2,700 was raised -- enough for two $1,000 scholarships, with money left over for a head start on 2013.
Thuente played soccer and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He died after a two-year struggle with neuroblastoma, a cancer most often associated with children.
The scholarships were presented recently to seniors Anne Beck of Eagan and Zachary Rubenstein, whose home high school is Eagan and who is graduating from the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley.
Pollock recently fielded questions from the Star Tribune about the bonds of friendship that hold their group together.
Q Tell me about Matt.
A The first thing I can say about Matt is that he was incredibly kind. He was a very loyal friend, a great listener and was always there for the people he cared about. Although he had a calm and fairly quiet demeanor, Matt was very funny. He was such a loving person and really enjoyed the company of his closest friends.
Q What is it about your group that makes it special?
A We genuinely care about each other. We have a long history with one another. Even throughout college when we wouldn't see each other for periods of time, once we were home and in each other's company it was as if no time had passed at all.
Q When was the last time you were together with Matt?
A The last time I recall our group being together is up in northern Wisconsin at a cabin where we spent a lot of time together in high school. We spent time boating, laughing and really enjoying one another. That was the last time I saw Matt, and I am so grateful to have been able to spend that time with him in a place that was so special to all of us.
Q What's next?
A We have been brainstorming about throwing a party in his honor sometime close to his birthday in October to raise money for the scholarships and really celebrate Matt's life. We plan to continue to raise money for many years to come.
William C. Crum • 612-673-7215