Family Establishes Endowment for Late Son, Budding Veterinarian

Sebastian with his dogSebastian Jon Weiskopf had a contagious smile that not only put people at ease, and attracted people to him, but revealed his confidence, strong sense of self, and humility.

One of the things that always brought that smile to Weiskopf’s face was animals.

From the time he was 2 years old, Weiskopf had many pets at home—an Amazon parrot named Peekaboo, two Ragdoll cats named Pudding Paws and Lady Ivory, and a chow named Sophie, as well as three other cats and an assortment of guinea pigs, mice, parakeets.

Weiskopf was on his way home one night while he was serving in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Infantry when he encountered a 9-month-old pit bull on the side of the road that had been left for dead after being hit by a car.

“Sebastian took him to the veterinarian and then home to care for him,” said Weiskopf’s father John. “Sebastian nursed Dexter back to health, not only saving his life, but he and Dexter became inseparable friends.”

From a young age, Weiskopf succeeded at everything he did in life.

Playing Little League baseball for nine years and travel ball from the ages of 12-15, Weiskopf was on the all-star team for five years and was named “most valuable player” twice; he was a competitive swimmer for three years, during which he trained for four to five days a week; he played high school football for one year; and he played middle school, junior varsity, and varsity lacrosse, serving as team captain of his middle school team and as one of the team captains on the JV and varsity teams.

Weiskopf also was an avid and skilled fisherman.

“He caught his first large bass, a 15-inch Calico bass, off the Santa Monica Pier on Father’s Day 2000,” John said. “It was clear that he had hooked a sizable fish because of the bend in the rod.  As he reeled it in, about two dozen onlookers gathered around to watch, and as he brought it on the pier, people began to clap and cheer.

Sebastian with his first fish caught“This was Sebastian’s first major fish,” his father bragged. “He was so excited, and embarrassed, by the cheering that he began to cry. Quickly, we measured the Calico and threw it back. He was 7 years old.”

Weiskopf graduated from Chaminade College Preparatory High School in West Hills, California, in May 2011 and then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving from January 2012 to April 2015 in B Company, 1-12 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Infantry, stationed at Fort Hood. He also served 11 months in South Korea.

In the military, his commitment to excellence continued.

“He was an expert marksman, one of the three best shots in his company. In his sophomore year of high school, his dream was to enlist in the U.S. military and eventually become a Ranger with special ops,” John said. “Two months before he was discharged from the U.S. Army, his commanding officer called him into his office and told Sebastian that he had recommended Sebastian for the Rangers, special ops training, and the captain’s recommendation had been approved.”

While this had been Weiskopf’s dream for six years, the offer came with the requirement to reenlist for eight or nine years; during those six years, however, Weiskopf had decided he wanted to return to school, so he turned the offer down.

Shortly after leaving the active military and joining the National Guard, A Company, 1st Battalion, 141 Infantry at Camp Bullis, in San Antonio, Texas—where he served for just over two years—Weiskopf enrolled at Houston Community College, where he took classes while working full-time as a senior firearms instructor at Boyert Shooting Center in Westheimer, Houston.

Within a year, Weiskopf was asked to direct the audio-visual virtual reality program and be the director marketing, and he began teaching courses in “License to Carry,” “Handgun Progression Program,” “Rifle Progression Program,” and group handgun courses.

“In November 2016, Sebastian and I spoke on the phone about what he wanted to do with his college education,” John said. “He was private about some things, but I knew that even as a young boy, Sebastian was goal-directed; he set goals and achieved them. So after some prodding, Sebastian replied, ‘I want to be a veterinarian.’

“‘What a great goal!’” John recalled saying.

But Weiskopf’s aspirations went beyond that—he wanted double major, simultaneously earning a business degree.

“‘I figured after I become a vet, I would work for somebody for two to three years and learn the ropes, and then I would set up my own clinic for low-income people who could not afford to bring their pets to a veterinarian,’” Weiskopf had told his father.

He hoped to secure funding through grants, loans, and sponsorships, which would allow him to set up two or three more like it in five years, and then more in 10 years.

Sebastian with his dad“‘What an incredible dream, Sebastian!’” John recalled saying. “You’re 23 now; by 30, you will have your DVM.”

Weiskopf’s goal, however, was tragically cut short, when in 2017, he died in a car accident in the Panhandle.

To honor his love of animals and his desire to become a veterinarian, his parents established the Sebastian Jon Weiskopf Memorial Scholarship fund, which will be awarded for the first time in the fall of 2019 to a veterinary student who is a veteran, the child or the spouse of a veteran who has served or is currently serving in the military; or is a former member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.

“Sebastian always knew what he wanted because he knew himself. He had great instincts and the ability to express himself. He was confident, yet humble,” John said. “Everything he did, he did as close to perfection as possible. Carefree on the outside, but deeply driven on the inside.

“He had a great work ethic and loyalty—to his country, his family, his friends, and to the direction where he saw himself moving, a space where he could give back,” John said.