Auto scholarship part of a proud family tradition

Auto scholarship part of a proud family tradition

David Lazaruk’s memorial gift celebrates his father’s support of NAIT automotive apprentices

At just 9 years old, David Lazaruk lost his sight after the surgery to remove a brain tumour, which left his optic nerves damaged. “One day I had sight,” he recalls in the comfort of his living room in Edmonton’s Rosedale assisted living facility. “The next day it was gone.”

Lazaruk persevered and graduated from high school. Later, he landed several positions with the federal, provincial and municipal governments. He started with the CNIB, and then took on positions with Canada Employment and Immigration, the Youth Employment Services, and the Alberta Human Resources and Employment office, where he transcribed correspondence from print into braille.

“I decided to leave a gift to NAIT, because of my father. It’s a legacy. It will last forever.”

Lazaruk’s zeal for getting out in the world led him to pursue a variety of interests. Over the years, he’s learned to play drums, chimes and the marimba. He became a certified ham radio operator to communicate with other enthusiasts all over the world. And he skied for many years, carving down mountain slopes in Alberta, British Columbia and even Japan.

Tom Lazaruk Memorial Award

Reflecting back on his life, Lazaruk says there was thing he could count on: the support he received from his family—which led him to donate to NAIT and continue the legacy his mother began.

After his father passed away in 1983, Lazaruk’s mother, Mary, established a memorial scholarship to recognize his support for automotive technicians.

The Tom Lazaruk Memorial Award is awarded every spring to students in their first year of NAIT’s Automotive Service Technician program with strong academic achievement, work habits, quality of work and overall attitude.

Supporting the NAIT Automotive Service Technician Program

The automotive trade has been an important part of the Lazaruk family. His father, Tom, was a mechanic and business partner at a downtown service station who took many NAIT apprentices under his wing. Inspired by his father’s fulfilling career, his older brother became an apprentice.

Lazaruk, too, showed an interest in the trade. He took a small engine repair courses and an automotive transmission-rebuilding course and was ready to work for a transmission repair company but it went out of business. Regardless, Lazaruk says he has many fond memories of spending time with his father under the hood of a vehicle. 

 When his mother passed away in 2014, Lazaruk continued to support the scholarship through an annual donation.

“I decided to leave a gift to NAIT, because of my father,” explains Lazaruk. “It’s a legacy. It will last forever.”


Published on March 16, 2018