Clarksville, TN – One of Brock Blick’s first words—shortly after he learned to say “mom” and “dad”—was the word “cow.” As a baby, strapped in his car seat, he’d often shout the word whenever his father, Mark Blick, drove past a farm.
“It’d scare you to death,” Mark said recently. “It was a wonder we didn’t have wrecks, he yelled it so loud. But he loved animals.”
Brock Wyatt Blick died on January 8th, 2017, while on a hunting trip with friends and family. He was only 11 years old.
Six months after that tragic event, his family gathered at the Austin Peay State University Farm and Environmental Education Center to establish the Brock Blick Endowed Scholarship in Agriculture. That afternoon, Mark and Jeri Blick said their gift to the University was only the first phase of a larger plan to honor Brock’s memory.
Earlier this month, on a remarkably clear night during a spring of near constant rain, more than 100 community members gathered at the APSU farm to celebrate the next phase of the young man’s legacy—the establishment of the Brock Blick Fund of Excellence at Austin Peay.
“We made basically a 100-year commitment to the college,” Mark said.
During the evening’s heartfelt and emotional celebration, the University hosted a ribbon-cutting for the newly renamed Brock Blick Animal Science Facility. In 2016, Austin Peay opened the $1 million, state-of-the-art animal science teaching facility to provide room for the Department of Agriculture’s booming enrollment.
It’s a fitting name for the new building. In the year following the young man’s death, the phrase “Be Like Brock” has appeared all over Clarksville, reminding people of the 11-year-old who stood up to bullies and saw the good in people.
“After meeting with Mark and Jeri, I understood more what being like Brock really means,” Dr. Alisa White, APSU president, said. “And what does that mean? How would you emulate someone? How would you think so highly of someone that you say that’s the person I want to be, that’s how I want to behave. Well, he had a passion and respect for agriculture. He was kind. He wanted to help others. To have those qualities in a young man his age showed that he had some grounding in his family and his support network.”
Brock loved cows. He loved shouting that word as a baby, and he loved caring for the animals on his grandfather’s farm. Now, thanks to the Blicks’ gift, the APSU Department of Agriculture will use advances in embryo technology to increase the number of calves produced a year from a superior donor cow, Ruby, at the farm.
“With funds from the Brock Blick Fund of Excellence, this cow will become the Brock B. breeding cattle foundation female,” Dr. Don Sudbrink, chair of the APSU Department of Agriculture, said. “Ruby is not only a great representative of the future of APSU beef genetics, but will also serve as an important embryo donor. One calf from each of Ruby’s breeding cycles will carry the Brock B. name and will begin populating the APSU farm and other herds across the community, region and country with Brock B. superior genetics.”
Many of the individuals attending the April 5th event personally contributed to this new fund honoring Brock. Last fall, the Blicks hosted a golf tournament and a silent and live auction to raise money for the fund, and they were overwhelmed by the community’s response.
“Thank you,” Mark said to the crowd. “I love you. Jeri and I, we’ve been blown away by the support of this community. We’re blessed to be part of the community, proud to be part of the community.”
For information on the scholarship and the fund of excellence, contact the APSU Advancement Office at 931.221.7127.