Kenosha police explorer receives help to pay for his mother's funeral and finish college

Law enforecement community comes together to help out 20-year-old Kenosha man

CREATED Apr. 24, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr. 24, 2012

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  • Jesse Ritka reports Video by wtmj.com

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KENOSHA - College student Cory Brennan was left with a heavy financial burden after losing his mother.  But the Boy Scout's Explorer program and local law enforcement agencies came together to help him out.

20-year-old Cory Brennan has had to overcome more obstacles than many of his classmates at UW-Parkside.  Deputy Timothy Hackbarth of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka how much adversity Brennan had to overcome growing up.

"That's someone who has lived in a car a big portion of his life, who hasn't had a place to live, hasn't had food, had to rely on getting food and support from wherever he could," explains Deputy Hackbarth.

And in March, Cory Brennan lost his biggest supporter; his mother took her own life.  "When you lose a best friend, that's more than enough, when you lose a mom, that's worse, but when you lose both, that can be devastating," remarks Brennan.

His mom's death not only left him alone emotionally, Cory now had to pay for her funeral and debt on top of his own rent and tuition to graduate with a degree in criminal justice.

That's when his Boy Scout's Explorer Unit advisor Deputy Timothy Hackbarth became more than a mentor.  "He's more like a little brother to me more than anything else.  I sent out an email and that email just grew and grew and grew and grew," Hackbarth explains.

Donations and support came in from the community and around world, helping Brennan bury his mother.  Cory's fellow students in the Boy Scout's Explorer program in Milwaukee stepped up as well, raising more than one-thousand dollars for Cory to help pay for school.

"I hope I turn out like him someday," says Luke Courtier, who is also part of the Explorer program open to 14 through 20 year olds with an interest in learning about careers in law enforcement.

Brennan is overwhelmed by the kindness he's received, "It's crazy to think that a month ago, I was burying my mom and I didn't know what I was going to do, it just seemed like a blur to me and now everything is clearing up and it's clearing up in shades of blue and shades of brown for police and sheriff's departments around the state."

With such strong community support, Cory Brennan plans to graduate in December from UW-Parkside, a feat he knows his mother would be proud of.