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Bradley Stokes Scholarship awarded to Joshua Vidal

August 9, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

An 18-year-old Cape Coral resident, Joshua R. Vidal, has been awarded the 2017 Bradley Stokes Scholarship award. Rebecca Stokes presented the honor Monday, July 24.

The Bradley Stokes Scholarship fund was set up by Rebecca, Bradley's mother, after her son died in a motorcycle accident on May 18, 2012.

"I established this fund because I wanted my son's passion of becoming a firefighter to live on through others who share the same desire," Stokes said.

Article Photos

Joshua Vidal

"I first heard about the Bradley Stokes Scholarship at the fire academy," Vidal said. "I was recommended for the scholarship by Danielle Kirby, assistant to the firefighter coordinator at the fire academy."

Vidal always knew he wanted to be a fireman.

"I have an uncle who's a fireman," Vidal said. "When I was about 2 years old, he began taking me to the firehouse and I think I knew then what I wanted to do.

"My parents always told me to find something I wouldn't mind waking up every day for and I can honestly say, I will go to bed every night, loving what I know, I will be waking up for," Vidal continued.

After completing the Fire 1 program in high school, Vidal went for a standard physical exam where he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. His doctor wouldn't "clear" him for Fire Academy 2 until Vidal was seen by a cardiologist.

"I don't have health insurance and had to pay for all the medical expenses out of pocket," Vidal said. "I was out $800 so I had to put Fire 2 on hold. It all turned out fine because the heart murmur was a false reading something to do with the placement of the test equipment. As it turned out, I didn't have a heart murmur at all."

"I'll be starting Fire 2 in October and then going on to become a paramedic," Vidal said. "My goal is to start my career before my 20th birthday. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I want to honor Bradley's memory."

"Bradley really loved firefighting," Rebecca said. "He wanted to be a firefighter since he was about 3 years old. When he was 14 he began participating in the Fire Explorer program."

After Bradley graduated from Edison State College, he joined the Air Force where he engaged in a program to become a firefighter in the military. It was in May 2012 when Bradley was home on leave that the accident occurred.

"One of the last things Bradley posted on his Facebook page was, 'Every man receives the same amount of time; what he chooses to do with it is entirely up to him,'" Rebecca said.

Contributions to the Bradley Stokes Memorial Fund may be made at StoneGate Bank on Pine Island at 5551 Sunset Lane, St. James City, 33956; see Elsie Stearns. To contact the office, call 239-283-1480.



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