Thank You from Mattias Opitz

Toby Candilora Memorial Scholarship Recipient, Bellevue University

To the benefactors of the Toby Candilora Memorial Scholarship:

I am truly honored to have received this generous scholarship.  Having been a law enforcement official myself for almost 11 years, I know the demands, burdens and stresses it places on one’s body, family and life.  I feel that too often, we overlook and under appreciate the heroes that serve our nation at home.

Toby was able to complete an admirable academic path while selflessly serving his community, and the generosity provided by his memorial fund will allow me to follow in his footsteps by striving forth to earn a master’s degree myself.

I earned my associates in criminal justice, but I sought another path as an analyst for my undergrad and graduate degrees. Although I am just beginning my graduate level journey, I plan to begin a career within the federal government upon completion of my masters.  I have my eyes set on the FBI, but any agency that offers me a chance to help and protect others is a career I willingly accept.

My wife was also a law enforcement official for the better part of ten years.  Within that time, she deployed to Baghdad and responded to the immediate aftermath of hurricane Katrina. These experiences allowed her to find her true calling to be helping those that help others.  She is now a military clinical social worker who specializes in aiding first responders.

My wife and I cannot express our thanks enough for this generous opportunity. Toby’s watch may have ended on October 7, 2009, but he may continue to rest easy knowing I will do my utmost best to honor his memory.

Thank you for your service, Toby, we’ve got the watch from here.


Mattias Opitz

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