News

Tribute to Former Student Jehu Wilson

by Office of Marketing | Nov 25, 2014
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It is with a heavy heart that the University of Valley Forge (UVF) remembers one of its many beloved students. Former student, Jehu Wilson, entered heaven on October 28 at the young age of 22. Wilson attended UVF during the 2011–2012 academic year and participated on the men’s soccer team during the fall of 2011. He is the son of Henri and Masnoh Wilson as well as the brother to Janday, Henri Sr. and Samuel.
 
Wilson first arrived on campus as a high school soccer player from Christian Heritage in Trumball, Conn., for a UVF soccer camp. Andy Patton '90 led Wilson’s high school team and played an integral part of his decision to come to UVF. Coach Jon Mack reflected on the memory saying, “They scrimmaged with our kids, stayed in the dorms, and even had dinner in the commons with them. There was a bond forming and Jehu was a part of that.” 
 
Two years later, Wilson enrolled at UVF. He quickly joined the men’s soccer team, where he found supportive teammates, friends and leaders. He came to UVF with a known medical disorder. Unfortunately, he could not return after the 2011–2012 academic year due to the progression of his disorder, which eventually led to his death. “We knew how skilled he was, and we knew the risks involved. I commend him and his family for trying it. To have the courage to come and work hard as a student-athlete here is inspiring," Mack said. "It’s an example to all of us. When God calls us to different places — even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone, like Jehu — we can step out in faith.”

One evening that fall, the men's soccer team played against Williamson Trade School. The game was tied in double overtime with only five seconds left. The ball crossed to Wilson, who using his signature touches around the opposing defenders, scored his first collegiate goal and ended the game with two assists. His teammates mobbed him in celebration and after the game coach Dylan Flickinger asked him how he felt about the experience. "Even in one of his most brilliant soccer moments, Jehu was talking about the pass from his teammate that led to the goal," Flickinger said. "I remember Jehu most for his kind-hearted personality and humbleness, and that moment is a striking example of the kind of soccer player and person that Jehu was." 
 
Wilson’s condition affected his social abilities, so he often isolated himself from others. However, the soccer team at UVF is where he found true friendships.  One of Wilson’s fellow teammates, Juan Delcid '13, remembers his athletic giftedness, humor and encouraging attitude. During a devastating team loss, Delcid recalled a conversation in which Wilson lifted his spirits. 

"I was sitting with my head down when he said, ‘I know you’re mad. I know you’re sad, but I want you to pick your head up. You’re our leader, so I don’t want to see you with your head down.  I want to encourage you. Pick yourself up, but pick me up also, and I’ll follow you.’” Delcid reflected on this moment saying, “Jehu was always encouraging us (his teammates) when we should have been the ones encouraging him.”
 
Wilson also lifted the spirits of his UVF soccer teammates with his humor. During a team photo, he jokingly kneeled down and cupped his face in his hands as he smiled at the camera. With no prior football experience, he participated in the annual Patriot Bowl football game, where he successfully scored a touchdown but kept on running, not knowing when to stop. The team roared with laughter as he continued to sprint farther and farther. 

Wilson’s former teammates have been reconnecting with each other since his recent death. Delcid announced, “I hope his family knows that the whole UVF team — his past coaches, teammates and leaders — are praying for them.” Wilson left a lasting impact on his friends here at UVF by being a humble, kind-hearted, and encouraging person, even while facing overwhelmingly difficult odds.