Tristan Folk was a kind, sincere, and intelligent young man with a promising future. Above all, he was a loving son and brother.
He was an active volunteer in the community, an athlete, a musician, a leader, and scholar. Becoming an Eagle Scout and serving as a mentor were some of his proudest moments.
Tristan had a wide range of interests and pursued many endeavors. He was a member of the Rochester Institute of Technology pep band and the RIT cybersecurity club. In high school, he was also a member of the Waterloo golf team, track and field team, indoor track team, the Waterloo High School band and the jazz band, where he played the trombone. As a Boy Scout in Troop 74, he rose quickly through the ranks and became a recognized leader and mentor among his peers.
He cared about getting better, not winning awards, therefore his accolades were earned and not sought. Tristan was a member of the National Honor Society. He received the Student of the Quarter Award, along with numerous scholastic awards. Clarkson University gave him a Leadership Scholarship Award. The Daughters of the American Revolution gave him a Good Citizenship Award. He was nominated to both the United States Naval and Air Force Academies. Beyond these and many other achievements, his character and work ethic also earned him a merit-based scholarship from RIT.
Tragically, Tristan took his own life on December 21, 2017.
Tristan’s parents, Christopher and Tiffany Folk, hope to honor his memory by engaging in suicide prevention and awareness activities in an effort to prevent other families from experiencing what is truly a tragic and life-changing event.
They are planning to set up a charity which will be used for fundraising, with resources directed at suicide awareness and prevention, initially targeting high-performing youths for whom failure is an unfamiliar condition.
They plan to engage with other organizations with the goal of communicating Tristan’s journey to deliver the message that anything can be rectified, and no issues are truly insurmountable. They will also focus on engaging law-makers, reviewing, recommending, and ensuring that legislation is enacted to help prevent these senseless acts.To bring awareness to suicide prevention, and honor Tristan’s memory, I was honored to host Tiffany Folk as our guest to this year’s State of the Union address.