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Eric McMillan Legacy Award Presented to Murrieta's Top Student Athletes

Kody Thornburg from Murrieta Valley and Vista Murrieta's Bryce Smith are this year's recipients of the prestigious award.

The plaque reads: “A positive example of team leadership, scholarship and community service in the memory of Eric McMillan.”

Every year, Murrieta Valley and Vista Murrieta high schools award the Eric McMillan Legacy Award to a student athlete that exemplifies the standards and qualities that Eric, a fallen past student, set and represented.

Eric graduated in 2003 from Murrieta Valley High School,where he was an exceptional football player and leader. He then played cornerback at the University of Idaho, starting as a freshman.

His life came to abrupt end on Sept. 19, 2004, when he was shot in his Idaho apartment following a football game. He died the next day after surgery.

Along with Murrieta Valley and Vista Murrieta, the University of Idaho has also since given out an award each year in his honor.

Eric was widely known in Murrieta not only for his performance on the field but for the great person he was off the field. A leader and overachiever, Eric was always going out of his way to make friends and inspire teammates.

This year’s Eric McMillan Legacy Award winners are Kody Thornburg from Murrieta Valley and Bryce Smith from Vista Murrieta.

A fine student athlete to represent the award, Bryce is a captain of the Bronco football team and plays linebacker. He is active in the community and is an exceptional student. Bryce plans to attend a university next year and continue playing football at the next level.

“I am very honored to receive the award. Its a great honor and I will make sure that I continue to exemplify the great characteristics Eric McMillan represented” Bryce said.

A Nighthawk team leader and exceptional student, Kody will most likely be attending the University of Chicago to major in kinesiology after graduation. Kody is also very active in church and community affairs.

“I am really honored that Coach Ireland thinks so highly of me to give me this very prestigious award," Kody said. "From freshman year 'til now, passing by the Eric McMillan plaque by the field is a constant reminder of how important living everyday to its fullest is. As a Christian I hope to reflect compassion for others that my savior has given me. I am very thankful to be recognized with this award.”

Congratulations and the best of luck to two of the finest student athletes in Murrieta.

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