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Honoring a Hero and Supporting a Scholarship

Irvine at Christmas fundraiser party

Chase Prasnicki, left, with his father, David Prasnicki, VMI Alumni Agencies chief financial officer. Chase made the ultimate sacrifice serving his country June 27, 2012.

On Dec. 13, 2018, Carson Irvine, a current member of the Keydet Club Board of Governors, hosted a spaghetti dinner at his home in Roanoke. Each year, Irvine invites friends and family to this dinner, which includes a presentation from a local charity that guests can help support. The charity of choice has always been one that supports local veterans of the Roanoke community.

Of the dinner, Irvine explained, “The Irvine Christmas spaghetti dinner has always been a special occasion known for great fellowship and wonderful food all while raising funds for a worthy military-related cause. For 2018, our sixth anniversary, we felt the need to do something really special – something that would raise the already high bar established in previous years. Our objective of raising funds has always been honorable and rewarding, but intuitively, we knew we could and should do more.”

In 2018, Irvine wanted to take the event in a slightly different direction. Irvine grew up in Buena Vista, Virginia, and went to Parry McCluer High School, where he was a classmate and teammate of David Prasnicki, VMI Alumni Agencies chief financial officer. Those in attendance were honored to have Prasnicki speak at the dinner as he told the story of his son, Stephen “Chase” Prasnicki, who made the ultimate sacrifice serving his country June 27, 2012. A 2010 graduate of West Point and a member of their football team, Chase was an Airborne Ranger and a graduate of Pathfinder School.

After Chase’s passing in 2012, friends who had engaged with Prasnicki since his arrival at the VMI Alumni Agencies in the mid-1980s came together to honor Chase’s life by establishing the Stephen Chase Prasnicki Memorial Scholarship at VMI, which supports a commissioning member of either the VMI football or lacrosse team. The first recipient of this scholarship was none other than Irvine’s son, Clark Irvine ’13, who was a member of the VMI football team and now serves in the United States Army.

Following Prasnicki’s presentation, Irvine asked the 40-plus dinner attendees to consider making a contribution to the scholarship to honor Chase. The 2018 dinner was a record, as those in attendance – and others who were unable to attend – donated $23,830 to the Stephen Chase Prasnicki Memorial Scholarship. Meade King ’85, Keydet Club chief operating officer, said of the dinner, “The poignancy of this event was striking and the spaghetti excellent. Memorial gifts to the Chase Prasnicki scholarship are especially meaningful.”

  • Andrew Deal

    Andrew Deal '12 Chief Operating Officer, VMI Keydet Club

    The VMI Keydet Club chief operating officer provides oversight of programs and staff to ensure they meet the goals and objectives of the club’s strategic plan, supports the president of the VMI Keydet Club Board of Governors and is responsible for the formulation of the policies, goals, objectives, and procedures of the Keydet Club. The COO works closely with VMI leadership, VMI athletics, the CFO and across the VMI Alumni Agencies to develop and execute programs consistent with the missions of VMI and the Keydet Club. The COO reports to the VMI Alumni Agencies CEO.