We are asking friends to support James in three ways:
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1) We would like to raise at least $10,000 for the Amy Gillett Foundation through donations on this Everyday Hero page. The AGF advocates for cyclist safety with a vision of zero bike rider fatalities.
2) We would like at least 100 people to sign up to the "Hello Sunday Mornings" Challenge, which advocates for a change in drinking culture and helps create meaningful change in peoples lives through taking a break from drinking. Please sign up at the link below and let us know you have done so in James' memory.
3) Please share this page with your friends and family to spread this important message. Remember to share the roads and to never let yourself or others drink and drive. If you can't afford a taxi home, you can't afford to drink.
7th August 1984 - 22nd December 2013
A beloved Son, Partner, and Brother
James was someone very special in the lives of many people who was tragically taken from us in Los Angeles on Sunday, 22 December 2013 when he was riding a bicycle, in a cycle lane, and was struck by an (alleged) drink driver at approximately 9 AM, and killed.
He had flown from his home in Chicago a day before his flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne to make sure nothing could delay is return to see family and friends for Christmas. With time on his hands he went for a bicycle ride on one of the established cycle paths in Los Angeles when he was struck.
As a Parent, Partner, and Brother we all think that our loved ones are special but in James' case this was undoubtedly the case.
Growing up in a small country town in central Victoria, Australia, he quickly showed his ability for learning and his passion for sport, particularly basketball. He was able to balance an active young life with his school work, basketball and cricket as well as being active in Cubs and later Scouts.
As he entered high school his enthusiasm for learning grew even stronger and stayed with him right through to his graduation from the Seymour Technical High School with and ENTER score (now known as ATAR) of 99.45 placing him in the top 120 students in the State from both public and private schools.
With such a tremendous result he was offered a full academic scholarship to Melbourne University to study a Double Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Accepting the scholarship, he continued his academic excellence and achieved first-class honours as well as receiving Mentions on the Deans Honour List in Science and Engineering each year. He graduated with his Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees at the end of 2007.
For the first three years of his study he resided at Whitley College and in his third year there was elected President of the Student Advisory Council by his fellow residents.
Whilst at Melbourne University his love of basketball reached a whole new level when he started playing with the Melbourne University Blacks basketball club and eventually this saw him playing in the Big V league. Even after he graduated he continued to play with the club, and later coaching as well, until he left to commence work in the United States.
Whilst studying and playing basketball at a high level he still found time to donate his services to an aide agency, coaching refugees in information technology on Saturday afternoons, as well as taking part in debating and public speaking competitions, theatre productions and rowing.
He was recruited by IBM and signed to a contract one year before he graduated. Later, he moved on to a position as Senior Software Engineer with Redflex, one of the foremost speed and safety camera companies in the world, based in South Melbourne. Here he was team leader for a project which saw the development and introduction of a whole new level of speed cameras into the Great Britain market, as well as New Zealand and Hong Kong and the Philippines. He was particularly attracted to this job as it made a significant contribution to improving road safety.
Outside of work, James had a passion for travel. He wanted to see new things and have an open-minded, global view of the world. He had traveled extensively throughout Australia and after university he traveled for three months throughout Central America and the USA. He went to South America including Peru, Bolivia and Chile in 2009 with his sister Julia and also climbed Machu Picchu. He also visited New Zealand, and in 2012 he toured Cuba for 2 weeks, visited the USA once again and spent time in the Soloman Islands - a trip his friends will cherish forever.
Early in 2013 he was approached by Google to see if he would like to be considered for a position in their
Silicon Valley office. After an exhaustive interview process, he was offered a software engineering position. But, he turned them down to accept an alternative offer for a position in Chicago with Groupon. He favoured that position because he felt the project that he would embark on was not only more challenging, but had a greater potential to benefit society, something that was always at the forefront of his decision making.
He moved to Chicago in June 2013 and was subsequently joined by his girlfriend of five years, Karen Scott, where they had begun to build a successful life together.
He had a broad knowledge of many issues and all major decisions were always tempered by his desire to achieve a greater social good. He was always willing to assist and mentor others where he could, and his life achievements played a key role in inspiring his family, colleagues and close friends.
We, his family, and friends are extremely grateful for his life and the time we have been able to share it, but that time has been far too short, cut short by such a senseless and wasteful act.
Friends who have signed up to the "Hello Sunday Mornings" Challenge in James' memory, thank you:
- Karen Scott (username: Karen4James)
- Linda McNeill (username: LindaMc)
- Gerda Scott (username: Karensmum)
- Catherine Embury (username: catherineembury)
- Lizzie Weatherhead (username: lweatherhead)
- Blair McNeill (username: Blairmc)
- Rowan S (username: Rowan123)
- Tom Sorrell (username: tsorrell)
- Julia Rapley (username: julia_ )
- Kori Henschen (username: Kori6hens)
- Caroline Zuluaga (username: carolineindividual88)
- Eliza Sweeney (username: Alyza)
- Tash Anderson (username: )
- Megan Schulman (username: Megan123)
- Bec & Chris Norton (username: Norton)
- Bethany Wilson (username: betsiewilson)
- Kendall Trotter (username: kendallt)
- Judy Vuong (username: judy2014)
- Michael Bierwirth (username: MichaelB)
- Anthony Barca (username: anthonybarca)
- Samik Duttagupta (username: smikdg)
- Kerry Henderson (username: khenderson023)
- Joanne Chesson (username: JoC)
- Len Scott (username: KarensDad)
- John Rapley (username: JamesDad)
- Alistair Zuluaga (username: alzulu)
- Stephanie Southwell (username: StephS)
- Joseph Sibbick (username: FreeJoey)
- Laura Thompson (username: Laura123)
- Linda D (username: HeartSmart4Linda)
- Cherilia Poluan(username: chazzazoo)
- Lerreace Camenzuli (username: Lerreace)
- Carol Southwell (username: CarolS)
- Sejal Patel (username: Sejal)
- Cathy Curran (username: Chukes17)
- Meagan Lee (username: Meags1985)
- Andrea Laszczyk (username: Alaz)
- Belinda Malone (username: BelleM86)
- Aaron (username: aaron123)
- Amy Holland (username: ami)
- Jenny Papas (username: )
- username: SetYOUfree
- username: AllyB
- username: ladug
- username: Misssparklingbeer
- username: consta
- Cindy MacCormac (username: northernlights)
- Jonathan Cohen (username: jonog)
- Tom Morgan (username: TMorgan)
- username: Kiwifit
- Michelle Barca (username: michellebarca)
- username: HelloCazesty
53: Carol Sheldon (username: carolshell)
- Annabel Kelly (username: annabelkelly9)
- username: Petethenomad
- Symphy (username: Symphy)
- Sheree Su (username: shereesu)
- Lucy Kehoe (username: lucyekehoe)
- username: flande1
- username: tab
- username: MJ
- username: minnesota
- Todd Curry (username: toddlc)
- Jessica Disler (username: jessicadisler)
- Sophie Dixon (username: Sophie Dixx)
- username: Chris22
- Matt Higgins (username: mhiggins)
- username: DrJazz
- username: waitsfan
- username: Mike2014
- username: Hebble
- username: Gladys
- username: JayWalker
- username: HopeStrengthCourage
- username: GreenTara
- username: ranga
- username: Healthygirl
- username: MissM
- username: Squilla
- username: Lungs
- username: Humble
- username: MaxiSobriety
- username: nickykinz
- username: Amrons
- username: Plumrocket
- username: WendyZ
- username: KateK
- username: JJJ
- username: Steph3011
- username: Bfg
- username. jasminejoy
- username: Iris
- username: BettyJean
- username: Louize
- username: Runnergirl
- username: lucybottoms
- username: IrishMel
- username: jb23
- username: yogi1983
- username: Trekker
- username: SW09
- username: Healthierlife
- username: Happiness
- username: daniellee
- username: kadoca
- username: Zoo99
- username: Nitram
- username: Dazie
- username: nanum
- username: Bax
- username: upsydaisy
- username: Sonj
- username: Cat22
- username: Mia1995
- username: nickij
116: username: Wadey
- username: GinaC
- username: haphazard
etc. (updated as we hear of those who have joined)