At a ceremony at South High School in Blue Springs (MO) on February 4, Stephanie Ireland (second from right) received a $16,000 college scholarship check from the Midwest Region Scholarship Fund.
Stephanie is the daughter of Jeff Ireland, a member of Laborers’ Local 663, who was killed while flagging on October 30, 2002. He is also survived by his wife, Tammie, and a son, Mike, who has since become a Laborer, himself.
The Fund was established in September 1999 to help meet the educational needs of the children of Laborers who are killed or permanently injured while working on the job. It is supported through a variety of fundraising activities conducted by the Midwest Region Laborers. Stephanie is its first recipient.
In announcing the award, Edward M. Smith, LIUNA Vice President, Assistant to the General President and Midwest Regional Manager, said, “We have 37 beneficiaries ranging today, from six months to 19 years of age. This year, we begin awarding scholarships.”
Despite the loss of her father, Stephanie has remained strong and positive about her future. As part of her scholarship application, she wrote an essay entitled Be the Change You Want to See in the World, based on a quote from Ghandi. A top student, active in school and also a server at the local Bob Evans, she plans to attend Northwest Missouri State University next fall and major in psychology.
After meeting Stephanie, Smith said, “She is a very special young lady, and I’m very proud that she is our first scholarship recipient. I’ve been a member of this union most of my life, and I’ve been blessed to be part of many wonderful moments. But nothing tops the experience I had today. The Laborers really do care for their own.”
[This story is based on a longer version written by Tim Roseberry.]