Portland, ME – At its recent Annual Meeting of the Policyholders The MEMIC Group awarded $15,000 in scholarships to three children of workers who suffered serious workplace injuries. Cody Smith of Greenbush, Maine; Derek McGraw of Brooklin, Maine; and Shannon Bagoly of Winsted, Connecticut are this year’s MEMIC Harvey Picker Horizon Scholarship recipients.
“We recognize that although workers’ compensation insurance covers medical treatment and replaces a large percentage of lost wages, it cannot eliminate all of the stress and strain that an injury can cause a family,” said MEMIC President and CEO John T. Leonard. “Our goal is to do all we can to prevent workplace injuries in the first place and we hope these scholarships will lead to a brighter future for these resilient students.”
In addition to working at Dysart’s Service Center in Hampden, Cody Smith is a volunteer firefighter for two local volunteer fire departments and last summer completed his Firefighter I and II training and certification through the Penobscot County Fire Academy. A graduate of Old Town High School completing his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and certification at United Technologies Center this year, Smith will continue his education at Eastern Maine Community College.
“MEMIC has provided a huge amount of financial support to my family as well as many other children and spouses of those injured in workplace accidents,” said Cody Smith, brother of Katie Smith, a previous Horizon Scholarship recipient. “I believe that my father’s accident had a huge impact on what my sister and I want to do as careers. With her becoming a nurse and me hoping to get my paramedic license, I believe it is very obvious what pushed us into these career fields.”
Derek McGraw will begin his first year at Drexel University in Philadelphia to study Sports Management and is proud to be the first member of his immediate family to go to college. “His academic history reveals nothing of the difficult, even heroic struggle Derek has undergone to fulfill his potential and put himself on the path to college,” said Katy Rinehart, Director of College and Career Counseling at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill where McGraw was involved in student council, the music program and sports like basketball and baseball.
“Because of his injury, he couldn’t play with me much as a kid or do a lot of physical activities, like baseball, which we both enjoy,” said McGraw of his father. “The injury has also prevented him from being involved in my school life, both in middle school and high school. It was difficult to grow up with a dad that could rarely come to my baseball and basketball games.”
At The Gilbert School in Winsted, Connecticut, Shannon Bagoly was simultaneously the band manager, clarinet section leader and first ever student stage manager, all while working as a lighting board operator and stage manager at The Warner Theatre, a local community theater. “As an educator, it is rare that I find a student who has truly discovered her passion while still in high school,” said Katherine Serafini, English teacher at The Gilbert School. “While other students were home watching TV after school, Shannon was working at the local theater and helping run shows. She worked her way up to being one of the most sought-after operators in the area, and she has since been requested as the lead for many subsequent shows.”
Bagoly’s mother is a nurse who injured her shoulder saving an elder patient from falling. “The surgery was the day of my senior year winter concert. After that day, I had to be home to help with day-to-day responsibilities,” said Bagoly. “On opening night for my school’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, I received the greatest news I’ve ever heard: I was accepted into the Stage Management program at Syracuse University. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement.”
The MEMIC Harvey Picker Horizon Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2001 to the spouse or child of a worker who has suffered a serious injury or death at work. With the 2017 awards, MEMIC has granted scholarships totaling $155,000.
MEMIC’s Horizon Scholarship is named after former Camden, Maine resident Harvey Picker, a renowned physicist, educator, philanthropist and advocate for education. In 1992, Picker was appointed by then Governor John R. McKernan as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Workers’ Compensation, which led to the formation of MEMIC. Picker also later served as a member of the Board of Directors at MEMIC.