As chairman of the James Raymond Scholarship Committee,I'm pleased to announce the 2004 recipient, Roxanne Cordt, a sophomore attending Fenwick High School.
Roxanne's father Bob,was a fireman-paramedic and diver working out of air and sea rescue at Meigs Field. When Meigs was shut down,he was detailed to a firehouse. In August of 2003,at his first fire there,a stairway gave out and he fell, with another fireman landing on top of him. Bob's back was so badly injured, he was never able to go back to work. He just received his disability pension which is only 75% of his pay and that will never go up. Roxanne,gets A's and B's,does about 4 hours of homework a night and is also active in some sports.
A little about how we got to this point. Betti asked me around the first of the year to set up a committee to honor Mr. Raymond with a scholarship. Having spent time in the Raymond household and being John Raymond's friend since the second grade,I was honored to accept. I also told Betti it may take up to a year to accomplish this. With the board's ok, we started.
In January we received a gift from the Justinian's of $1000 towards the scholarship and the board matched that for a total of $2000. With the guidelines John Raymond gave us along with our own guidelines, we decided to honor the child of a fireman. Firemen have always been very special to all of us. What seemed like an easy task, at times, became somewhat difficult. The names we were given just were not feeling right to us. We finally turned to Bill Kugelman, who supplied us with a few more names and it was here that we came across Bob Cordt and his daughter.
Bob Cordt represents all the firemen who not only helped us so courageously on December 1st,1958,but also up to the present, including rescuing our statue and welcoming us to Holy Family Church.
I would like to thank some people, starting with the scholarship committee:
- Betti Wasek, who represented the board, one of the most kind and caring people you'll ever meet.
- Anthony Fanone, our legal eagle who made sure we did everything right.
- Jane Cozzi, just a neighborhood girl, who happens to be brighter than all of us, just what we needed. and
- Matt Plavonich, who always says he's only here today because of Mr. Raymond and Father Hund, who got him and his classmates out of that room.
- A special thanks to Bill Kugelman,a true Friend of OLA.
- And of course, John Raymond and the entire Raymond family.
This was a process we were all very proud to be a part of. We took our time because we never forgot who the scholarship is named for and we wanted to do it right.
It was our honor.