Memorial scholarships sacred reminders to recipients
Adams County Community Foundation executive director Coni Mayer quickly tears up when she talks about the sacredness of the memorial scholarship portion of awards night for area young people.
"These are very emotional moments for family members who are presenting these scholarships in memory of their loved ones," said Mayer. "Many times, they choose the recipients on the basis of personality or academic resemblances to their loved ones. It is as though they are giving their hearts on behalf of their beloved to these students.
"I always have a script ready about each memorialized individual in case their presenters can't make it through the presentation," continued Mayer. "If I need to take over, I often feel so deeply for them that it's difficult for me to get through."
Mayer said that one of the most touching aspects of memorial scholarships is the range of ages of those memorialized.
"Clayton Shuck was just four years old. As young adults, Nick Taylor was just 20 while Amy Meyer and Jim Rumple were 28. Others honored recently at South Adams included Craig Amstutz, Scott Mathys, Herman Bixler, Tom Dull, Robert Ehrman, David Habegger, Deryll Lehman, Harold and Dora Ann Long, Trooper Cory Elston.
A very special moment occurred at this year's scholarship presentations when a large number of the late Tom Dull's family gathered to present their family's scholarship on behalf of Dull, including all of Dull's children, Tom, Mike, Rhonda Reynolds, Ron, and Mike's son, Spencer.
In addition, Spencer, a senior, played baseball with and against the two scholarship winners, Corey Seffernick and Blake Fox.
"It means an awful lot to all of us to remember and honor our father, Thomas Neal Dull, with this scholarship each year," commented son, Ron Dull. "He loved playing and coaching baseball and this scholarship helps give kids a chance to go to college which he always wished he would have done when he graduated from Geneva High School in the late 1950s.
"It is a nice way to allow the Tom Dull baseball legacy in our area to move on each spring as we did on Monday night at the Burkhalter Auditorium at South Adams Schools," continued Dull.
Another unique happening at Monday's meeting was the presentation of two Nick Taylor Scholarship Funds.
The first was opened through officials at Smith Brothers of Berne, Inc., where Nick had been employed before his death in Afghanistan. Those selected for this year's award provided through Smith Brothers include Abbie Fisher and Corey Seffernick.
In addition, at the time of Taylor's passing, the community responded with such an outpouring that a second scholarship fund honoring Taylor was opened and eligibility requirements were established by the Taylor family. Students recognized in this first Nick Taylor Scholarship were Abbie Fisher, Shelby Furlin and Alanna Hancock.
Concerning the memorial scholarships, Mayer said, "These memorial scholarships are very special. Even though it takes only minutes to create these checks for these awards, understand that it takes a full life time to create the scholarships."
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