The Sheepdog Award

In Honor of Kristopher Fielding Lewis

March 22, 1994 - November 25, 2015

Ocean Rescuer  *  Only Son  *  Little Brother  * Uncle  *  Friend

Foundation of The Sheepdog Award/Scholarship

The Sheepdog Award/Scholarship was created by Kristopher Lewis's family to continue his legacy and honor his character.

Kristopher Fielding Lewis, a 21-year-old vibrant young man, dedicated three impactful years of his life as an Ocean Rescue Swimmer in Corolla, NC.

Affectionately known as "Dude" among his team, Kris left an indelible mark as a proactive doer and selfless servant to his community.

His courage and commitment were not just professional attributes but reflections of a personable, funny, and kind-hearted individual who touched the lives of many. Kris was genuinely loved by those who had the privilege of knowing him, and his legacy was marked by numerous confirmed "saves" in which he fearlessly entered the ocean to rescue those in peril. 

Tragically, in November 2015, while en route to his family's farm near Frederick, Maryland, a devasting accident occurred when a tractor-trailer crossed the line on a two-lane road, colliding with Kris's truck and taking Kris from us instantly. 

In honor of Kris's enduring legacy and the exceptional character he embodied, the "Sheepdog" scholarship was established. This scholarship serves as a poignant tribute to Kris's innate qualities of individuals who, like Kris, naturally embody the spirit of the sheepdog - those who selflessly dedicate themselves to the welfare of others and exhibit a steadfast commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

Through the "Sheepdog" scholarship, Kris's memory continues to inspire and uplift, serving as a reminder of the profound impact that one individual's compassion and service-mindedness can have on the world. 

Definition of a Sheepdog

In 2004, LTC David Grossman wrote a book titled “On Combat” in response to 9/11 and the war in Iraq.  His emphasis was to teach the public the mindset of those who sacrifice and serve their community and country.  He starts by clarifying the definitions of wolves, sheep and sheepdogs.

LTC Grossman writes:

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy, productive citizen; a sheep, kind, gentle, productive, and only hurt others by accident.

If you have the capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath; a wolf.

But what if you have a capacity for violence and a deep love for your fellow citizens?  Then you are a sheepdog; a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.  You live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.  The sheep need the sheepdog.

The foundational character of this award is rooted in the recognition that the sheepdog is not defined by brute strength alone but by a deep sense of moral duty and unwavering dedication to service. The sheepdog possesses a unique mindset, viewing their surroundings with a healthy and vigilant dose of paranoia, not out of fear, but of a sense of responsibility to protect and serve.

Their "when/then" mentality reflects proactive preparedness rather than reactive panic, thus ensuring they are ready to face adversity head-on.   It is a conscious choice to equip and prepare themselves daily for the challenges that may come, to be ready when the metaphorical wolf comes knocking at the door.

To receive the Sheepdog Award is to embrace a daily commitment to dedication, equipping, and preparation for the inevitable challenges that may arise. It is a recognition of the conscious and moral decision to walk the warrior's path, to stand as a beacon of strength and protection in times of uncertainty and danger.

In honoring recipients of the Sheepdog Award, we pay tribute to their courage and sacrifice and the collective spirit of service and selflessness that defines the sheepdog ethos. Through their actions and example, they inspire others to embrace the call to service and to strive for excellence in our daily endeavors.

Nominate a Sheepdog Scholarship Participant

Nominate your candidate for the Sheepdog Award/Scholarship by completing this form to describe how your candidate exhibits the character of "The Sheepdog"

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