CANADIAN, TX (KFDA) - A new scholarship in memory of 19-year-old Thomas Brown aims to thank the community for not giving up the effort to uncover the truth behind his disappearance.
Thomas went missing from Canadian 17 months ago.
As time continues to pass since his disappearance, his family is determined to make sure his memory remains in the public eye so the search for Thomas is not abandoned.
They hope the Thomas Brown Scholarship will do just that, as well as thank the community for their continued support.
When it came to school activities, Thomas did it all.
From leading his class as president for two straight years, to winning two state championship football rings, to acting his heart out on stage, Thomas was the epitome of a well-rounded student.
His mother, Penny Meek, wants to help other students just like Tom.
"I try to choose a person who is very well-rounded, but also a student I know is in need," said Meek. "They're going to finish college and they are going to go do something."
The Thomas Brown Scholarship will award a Canadian High School senior $2,017.
"The reason we chose that number was because that was his graduating year," explained Meek.
Right now, the scholarship is only for students in Canadian, but Meek hopes to eventually expand the scholarship to the entire Panhandle.
"It's also a way to give back. Not only to my community, but hopefully to the Panhandle because we have received a ton of support throughout this region, so we want to give something back," said Meek.
Many questions remain unanswered when it comes to Thomas's disappearance, but Klein Investigations, the firm hired by the family, assures the case is moving forward in the hands of investigators with the Texas Attorney General's Office.
The Hemphill County Sheriff's Office asked the Attorney General's Office to take over the investigation back in February.
"We have a good relationship with them," said Philip Klein of Klein Investigation. "The case has definitely progressed. But sometimes when we're working really hard, we get kind of silent. I think that's what everyone is figuring out right now is that we are kind of silent."
Klein could not comment on the status of a cell phone recovered during a search last October or the search for a 25 caliber pistol.
However, he says their firm is still asking for information about a possible witness who was driving a dark brown F-250 truck the night Thomas disappeared.
They are also asking landowners in the Lake Marvin area to remain vigilant.
"We definitely want people to keep their eyes open," said Klein. "We understand there was a fire out there the other day and that makes conditions ripe to be able to see the topography of the land and we just really want everyone to keep their eyes open."
Klein said his investigators are currently reworking the timeline of the night Thomas disappeared.
"We found a couple of anomalies we're investigating on the timeline," Klein said. "It's always good to go back through your work and see if you've missed anything, so that's kind of where we are right now."
As the investigation continues, Meek said she is grateful for everyone who continues to share Thomas's story.
"It keeps his name out there and keeps it fresh and makes people know that it's not forgotten and that we are going to continue to fight and do what we need to do to bring some answers," said Meek.
If you would like to contribute to the Thomas Brown Scholarship, you can donate at any Happy State Bank location.