His family has responded to this tragedy by setting up a foundation in his memory, with a mission that sprang from his ethos of public service. Before joining Moody’s, he served (from 2009 through 2013) on the Board of Education in his hometown of New Milford, New Jersey, eventually being elected president of that body.
The scene where the truck driven by Sayfullo Saipov came to a halt on October 31, 2017, not far from where Mr. Drake died.
Although highly educated himself — Mr. Drake held a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson, and was working on a second master’s (this one in information management), from the Stevens Institute of Technology at the time of his death — he intuited that this path was not everyone.
In particular, he predicted a shortage of skilled laborers. Recognizing that not all high school students would go on to college, he advocated to support teens who would instead pursue vocational careers.
Mr. Drake’s parents, Jimmy Drake and Barbara Drake, along with his extended family have now taken up where he left off, launching the Darren Drake Foundation, to support the learning and development of individuals pursuing vocational careers. The Foundation provides financial assistance, in the form of scholarships for trade programs.
Last spring, the foundation awarded its first scholarship: $2,000 to a recent graduate of New Milford High School graduate, who planned to study air conditioning technology. In August and September, the organization raised more than $30,000 at walkathons, held in New Milford.
Jimmy Drake reflects that, “Darren always wanted to help kids get trade-school training. And the only thing that would help us cope with his loss was devoting ourselves to helping these kids for Darren.”
For more information about the Darren Drake foundation, or to contribute, please browse: www.darrendrakefoundation.org