Addison Coy SS’16, ’17 has accomplished a lot in the past nine months. This spring she won the 300-meter hurdles state championship, setting a state record in the process. This summer she was the first-make regimental commander at Culver Summer Schools & Camps. And this fall, she is a starter on the Culver Girls Academy soccer team.
A lot of what she has accomplished, she can trace back to her friend Christian Burns N’15.
“Christian was so important. He was different,” she said. “He duct-taped the phrase ‘one more’ in his home gym as motivation to strive to go the extra mile and to never give up. Christian went the extra mile in our friendship. He was good at keeping in touch and our conversation on text hadn’t ceased since the previous summer.”
Coy, from Barrington, Ill., and Burns, of West Lafayette, Ind., stayed in contact even after he graduated from Culver Summer Schools & Camps in 2015. His graduation maintained the family tradition of being a member of Naval 1. He reached the rank of Naval Battalion Commander.
The youngest child of Eric and Marti Burns, Christian had followed his brothers Alex and Stewart as a Naval 1 graduate. His father is also a Naval 1 alumnus. His sister Sarah was a member of Deck 6. Eric and Marti said the day Christian walked through the graduation portal was one of the proudest moments of his life. Their lives, too.
For Coy, Burns continued to serve as a friend, coach, and adviser.
“He was there to lend his ear and offer suggestions,” she said, especially when she got down on herself. “This is how many people knew Christian. His wit, humor and his approachability was the catalyst to many friendships and earned the respect from anyone that knew him.
“He was there to urge me to open up and get out of my comfort zone,” Coy added. “He told me I could win state. I had laughed it off, but as the race drew near it became clear that he knew my potential even better than I might have!”
On May 31, Christian Burns died as a passenger in an automobile accident. Just 17, he was preparing for his senior year in high school and running on West Lafayette’s 4×100 relay team at the state track meet that weekend. He told Coy that he planned to go down to Bloomington a day early to watch her run.
Christian was willing to put in ‘one more’ for the people he cared about.
“Christian was willing to put in ‘one more’ for the people he cared about,” Coy said, “and as he planned to watch my race, I believe that he was there with me.”
As Coy said, Christian Burns was a model leader. So much so that every Naval 1 unit commander will now carry a saber named his honor. And the executive officer of the Naval Drill Team, where he served his first class year, will be presented with the Christian Burns rifle at the beginning of the summer.
Christian’s summer leadership experience also came through at West Lafayette. He was a very good student; helped lead the football team to the state title game as a running back; and, then, was one-fourth of the 4×100 relay team that qualified for the state meet.
His loss had such an impact at both Culver and West Lafayette that friends of the family, including Chap ’74 and Sallie Jo Mitzell, Steve Sturman W’69, and Cathy Calhoun, talked with Eric and Marti about establishing a Culver summer scholarship fund in Christian’s name.
The goal is to raise a minimum of $50,000, which will make the fund a sustaining scholarship. To date, approximately 67 percent has been raised through the Impact Culver crowdfunding site.
This summer, Eric and Marti maintained their Culver connections. They came to every parade and served as the reviewing officers for the drill team performances. It was only fitting, they said, after “the Culver family really pulled together so well for us.”
Top photo: Ally Severns (left), Christian Burns, and Addison Coy.