He was Timothy at home, until he became "T". He was Tim to his friends, and he had a lot of them.
Tim was one of those kids who asked a lot of questions, sometimes to the point of being annoying.
But he was also one of those kids who asked a lot of questions, sometimes to the point of revealing a deep curiosity or a precocious understanding. For better or worse, he was willing to challenge his teachers and his fellow students. Usually for better.
You couldn't offer Tim the choice of whether he wanted to do another activity or not, because the answer was always yes. His family had to learn to let Tim tell them what he wanted to do — they would try to figure out how to make it work. He was a long time player and referee for the Ames Soccer Club, a swimmer for Ames Cyclones Aquatics Club, and had joined the Z3 triathlon team in 2014. At Ames Middle School, he played two instruments and sang...and spent a season in the debate club. And ran cross country and track. Before he went home to go to soccer or swimming.
Physically, Tim would admit to being a little gawky. He had a hitch when he ran and he was better at getting to position when he played soccer than he was at dribbling around a defender. He wasn't going to make anyone forget YoYo Ma on the cello, either. But whatever he did, he did with passion.
In middle school, Tim began to find himself a niche in endurance sports. He had worked himself up to being one of the leading 8th graders in cross country and running the mile in track. He became a good enough swimmer to set the 11-12 year old 1500 m club record for Ames Cyclone Aquatics Club. He had shown success in youth and sprint triathlons.
Tim was excited to be entering high school, both for its academic challenges and to get to run and swim for Ames.
Tim and his sister OJ were planning to race in a draft-legal triathlon. On June 26, 2014, the two of them went on a training ride with an experienced group of riders from Ames, and his life was ended far too early in an accident.
The Jenks family received remarkable support from the many communities that Tim had been a part of: his church, the triathlon, soccer, and swimming communities, the school, and his many friends. Perhaps one of the most touching tributes was the We Run for Tim effort organized by his middle school friends, where so many of us ran Midnight Madness in Ames wearing Tim's Team T-shirts. At the July Iowa Long Course Championship Swim meet, nearly every team had a Swim for Tim T-shirt with their team's color for the font. Members of the triathlon community across the country raced "4 TRJ".
Funds raised by the sale of Swim for Tim T-shirts, a memorial soccer tournament held by the Ames Soccer Club, and the kind donation of many many friends planted the seed for the Timothy Ryan Jenks Memorial Scholarship. His family thought the most fitting memorial for Tim would be to find a way to encourage other local teens his age to follow their passions. And that is what TRJMS is all about.