Humanitarian Pat Trippley-DeMiranda to be honored at inaugural "Cocktails and Cleats" gala

Time heals wounds, but it's the memory that keeps Trippley going

It was a gaping wound, which became an irritating scab.

Now, it’s a hardened scar.

But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t pain from time to time.

This is the way Pat Trippley-DeMiranda views the passing of her son, William H. Trippley III, a promising young soccer talent and shining star in the community of Chester that was violently gunned down in 2004. William had all the makings of becoming the best soccer player to ever emerge from a city with roots steeped in a rich basketball tradition.

He played for FC DELCO, one of the finest youth soccer organizations in Pennsylvania and through the collective of his on-field talents and accomplishments in the classroom; he received scholarships to the Shipley School and later Elizabethtown College.

There is no end to what Will could have become or done – the same way today there is no end to what the legacy of his passing continues to do for scores of young kids in Chester. The advent of the William Trippley Youth Development Foundation (originally called Urban Promise) in 2007 continues to be a beacon of light in the Chester community, one that has joined forces with the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Chester City United and others to impact more lives and strives to teach valuable life lessons to area youth through the sport of soccer.

View: What is the Will Trippley Youth Development Foundation?

It is for that reason Trippley-DeMiranda is the inaugural recipient of the Philadelphia Union Foundation's “Building Blocks Award.” Trippley-DeMiranda will be honored at the “Cocktails & Cleats Celebration” to be held March 13 at the Hyatt At The Bellevue, Philadelphia. The award will be given annually to a community partner that best exemplifies one of the key components of the foundation, which is to “Build Relationships & Change a Generation” of children in Chester and the Greater Philadelphia Region.  

And what would Will think?

“Oh, he would be so proud,” Trippley-DeMiranda said in a recent interview with philadelphiaunion.com. “He was always trying to get kids in the community involved in soccer, he used to teach soccer at the Chester PAL league to kids and his friend Brian Rappaport would teach soccer and tennis. Will loved kids and felt blessed to help them find a passion in something and be in a safe environment.”

Trippley, along with other members of her family, have taken an intrinsic desire to make the Foundation bigger and bolder as years pass. It’s a nagging gripe with her and she’ll readily admit not having time to stay as involved as she would like as right now; Trippley-DeMiranda attends Neumann University working on a program focusing on strategic leadership.

“I haven’t been able to do as much as I would like to, but it’s because I am in school right now, working on this program,” Trippley-DeMiranda said. “It’s important for me to learn how to become a better leader as this can only better our Foundation and the people we impact. Having the right tools which is what I am learning now will help me help others – better.”

One can only imagine what Trippley-DeMiranda and the Foundation she created will become once she has completed the coursework. Consider that with only her dedication, passion and determination to not let her son’s death be in vain, Trippley turned an organization that served just 50 youngsters in 2006 to an non-profit foundation that assists well over 300 at risk youth year round. But she’ll tell you it doesn’t end there.

“I look at this and I see a place where kids can come and learn valuable life skills,” Trippley-DeMiranda said. “I see this as a place where young mothers can come and get assistance and counseling on how to care for their child. I see this as a safe haven for children that have been abused or molested. It’s not just about teaching kids the game of soccer, my son [William] loved the game, but it was the lessons he learned about communication and dealing with other people, how to have respect. That’s what really I saw when I look at his life; the important life lessons he got out of playing the game.”

As time passes for Trippley-DeMiranda, looking at all the positives her Foundation has made within the Chester community has done its job to heal the negative reason for why it originated.

“For me, it’s a double edged sword,” Trippley-DeMiranda said. “I look at all the good that is being done through Will’s name, but yes I miss my son. Two or three years ago, we couldn’t have had this conversation, but you know when you have a deep cut, eventually it becomes a scab and from time to time you pick at it and it bleeds. Now I have a scar, it doesn’t hurt anymore but I have a permanent reminder that a cut was always there.”

It’s a reminder that remains the driving force in all Trippley-DeMiranda does.

Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com