The Order of the Golden Rule Foundation recently granted scholarships to a record nine students as part of its 2022 Awards of Excellence scholarship program. Recipients are chosen based on academic performance, community involvement and an essay exemplifying a commitment to serving grieving families with compassion, fairness and dignity.
The 2022 Gold Award of Excellence recipient is Donavin Miles of Columbus Technical College in Columbus, Georgia. He was awarded $3,500 to help him complete his studies, which he plans to finish in December. Miles is a part-time student with a 4.0 GPA who wants to be part of the “honorable legacy” of independent funeral homes’ work within the communities they serve.
“My desire to enter the funeral service profession is not just about a career path but a call to serve,” he said. “During my restorative arts class, I discovered natural artistic abilities with my hands that I was not aware of. I found restorative arts to not feel like doing work but instead found it satisfying and therapeutic. My desire is to advance my restorative arts skills and specialize in restoring minor to major restorative cases. My goal is to reduce closed-casket funerals and give families the opportunity to have the final viewings they deserve.”
Kieron A. Keegan of Humber College in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, received the Silver Award of Excellence for $2,000. A full-time student, he also works as an office manager and funeral director intern at a local funeral home.
“Families entrust funeral service professionals with something more valuable than money or gold; they trust us with their loved one – a sacred trust that must never be broken,” said Keegan. “My commitment to the families I am called to serve, as well as those who have selected another establishment, is complete honesty, fairness and transparency in all interactions at all times.”
The foundation also awarded two Bronze-level $1,000 scholarships – to Rae Guntz of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Joyce Howard of John Tyler Community College in Chester, Virginia.
The foundation also awarded five $500 scholarships:
• Daniel C. Bowman Mid-America College of Funeral Service, Jeffersonville, Indiana
• Rachel Dam Humber College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• Katie Gochanour Milwaukee Area Technical College, West Allis, Wisconsin
• Courtney Richards American Academy McAllister Institute, New York, New York
• Madeline Stoneman Humber College, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.
All scholarship recipients who were able to attend OGR’s Annual Conference May 15-17 were recognized as part of the Golden Circle Celebration Dinner.
The OGR Foundation has traditionally awarded two annual scholarships worth just over $5,000 total. This year’s program doubled to $10,000 for nine students thanks to the generosity of OGR members, including two matching grants. Mike and Marie Butler, and children John and Nicki Butler, Livingston-Butler-Volland Funeral & Cremation Center, Hastings, Nebraska, offered a $5,000 matching grant for all donations made during the 2021 Golden Circle Celebration virtual event. Paul Hummel III of Hummel Funeral Homes, Akron, Ohio, offered a $2,000 matching grant for year-end donations. Both matches were met and exceeded by donations from other OGR members. ogr.org/foundation