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BYU honors ultimate sacrifice of Major Brent Taylor

Taylor family announces new endowed scholarship for BYU political science students

The Brigham Young University Army ROTC honored Major Brent Taylor’s life and legacy yesterday by adding his name to the Wilkinson Student Center Reflection Room’s Memorial Wall. Taylor was the former mayor of North Ogden and a BYU Army ROTC alumnus. He was killed in action during his fourth deployment to Afghanistan in November 2018, leaving behind a wife and seven children.

The Memorial Wall is a tribute to BYU’s fallen soldiers and includes the names of BYU veterans (students and alumni) who have sacrificed their lives serving their country, from World War I to more current conflicts. Taylor's name will join 210 other names on the Memorial Wall.

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Retired Brig. Gen. Val Peterson, who is also a member of the Utah House of Representatives and the vice president of finance and administration at Utah Valley University, spoke of Taylor’s public service during Thursday’s ceremony. Peterson was Taylor's former battalion commander in the Utah Army National Guard, and the two ran for political office at the same time.

"One of the things you find about National Guard soldiers is that they have a great desire to give back to their community. And sometimes there a few of us who just aren't very smart and want to give back even more. Brent was one of those people."

Noting the approaching Memorial Day holiday, Peterson also addressed the duty we share in honoring military veterans.

"As soldiers, the one thing we all want is to be remembered," Peterson said. "As we unveil this name today, it's important that we note the sacrifice he made for all of us to enjoy the freedoms we have."

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Prior to the unveiling ceremony, Taylor’s widow, Jennie Taylor, shared memories of the couple’s time spent on BYU’s campus. They first met on a blind date as students, and they later welcomed their first child and bought their first home while he finished both his degree in political science and his ROTC coursework. The couple had visited the Reflection Room and Memorial Wall just three months before Taylor was killed.

"There are many things that many of us in this room expected Brent to do and be and accomplish in this life," said Jennie, following the unveiling. "And we can sit around for days hemming and hawing about how sad it is that he won't be here to do that. But as General Jefferson S. Burton said at Brent's funeral, 'we can wring our hands or we can roll up our sleeves and get to work, but we can't do both at the same time.'"

Choosing to roll up their sleeves, Jennie announced the new Brent and Jennie Taylor Family Endowed Scholarship, awarded each year to an undergraduate political science student at BYU.

“Nearly two decades ago, Brent and I entered this campus with a determination to learn, and we have since gone forth with a lifelong commitment to serve,” Jennie said. “Please join me, my seven young children and the rest of our family in helping future students of political science carry on Brent’s legacy of sacrifice, statesmanship and service-centered leadership.”

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