Medina County Federal Credit Union awards 2017 scholarships to two local students
Medina County Federal Credit Union has announced the two winners in its 2017 Scholarship Program. McKenzie Erne, of Valley City, and Matthew R. Kelly, of Creston, will each receive $1,000 to help them continue their educations.
Pete Grimm, the CEO of the credit union, said the winners are representatives of the many young scholars throughout the community.
"We had many impressive applicants in our 2017 Scholarship Program and everyone here and our Board of Directors are very happy to help McKenzie and Matthew continue their studies," said Grimm. "As a cooperative credit union, we exist to serve the people of Medina County. Our directors themselves volunteer their time to serve on our board and give their time and expertise to help their neighbors in the community."
"The applicants this year really showed us that the spirit of service is alive and well in the next generation," Grimm said. "We are proud to serve a community full of so many wonderful young scholars and wish them all the best of luck as they continue their studies and service!"
McKenzie Erne wins 2017 Bernard R. Spechalske Scholarship from Medina County Federal Credit Union
Medina County Federal Credit Union has awarded its $1,000 2017 Bernard R. Spechalske Scholarship to McKenzie Erne of Valley City, Ohio.
McKenzie, a student at Buckeye Senior High School in Medina, is the son of Gary and Maureen Erne. She is a four-year varsity soccer player and a member of the track and field team. She is also involved in S.A.D.D., the Art & Photography Club, and is an office and library aid. She also volunteers at track meets and soccer camps. Academically, she is a Scholar-Athlete Award-winner and on the Honor Roll, and has earned college credits by taking courses through the University of Akron.
She will study pediatric occupational therapy at Keuka College this fall, with plans to earn a Master's degree in five years.
McKenzie has coached children with intellectual disabilities through the Young Athletes Program for two years. She introduces children between the ages of two and seven to sports, with the goal of preparing them for Special Olympics programs when they get older.
"Tasks that are so small to us may be significant to them in the long run," she wrote in her scholarship essay.
"Every athlete is different. Some athletes that I coach don't like to be hugged, touched or even talked to - others won't let go of you."
"The children that I coach have given me a different perspective on life and I feel they have made me a better person" McKenzie wrote. "I'm not sure who is coaching who because I've learned so much from them. I have been so inspired by these athletes and their families."
McKenzie is active outside of school as a volunteer at the Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital, at the annual Frog Jump Festival, and at church events. She raises funds as part of the Red Kettle Collection program, Shoebox Project, and the Lung Force walk.
The Board of Directors established The Bernard R. Spechalske Scholarship in 1994, in honor, memory, and recognition of Bernard Spechalske's service to the Medina County Federal Credit Union as a member, director and president of its Board of Directors.
Matthew R. Kelly wins 2017 Memorial Scholarship from Medina County Federal Credit Union
Medina County Federal Credit Union has awarded its $1,000 2017 Memorial Scholarship to Matthew R. Kelly, of Creston, Ohio.
Matthew, a physical therapy student at The University of Findlay, is the son of James and Linda Kelly.
On campus, Matthew is involved in Rotaract Club, which focuses on volunteer and community work, Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), Physical Therapy Organization (PTO), and campus ministry groups.
Matthew is a certified home health aid and volunteers his time performing physical therapy exercises with a 10-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. "Working with him has made me realize how blessed I am," Matthew wrote in his scholarship essay. "His smile is infectious and when he laughs it brightens even some of my worst days.
"Working with someone who is not as well off as myself and seeing the determination and joy he has is so uplifting," Matthew wrote. "In my day to day activities, I tend to not get upset as much over little things that don’t go right. Conner, even with his many limitations, is teaching me so much about the importance of being thankful. The progress that continues to be made is a constant reminder that what I’m doing is making a difference in both his and my life."
During the summers, Matthew works at Fixler Corner Gardens as a landscaper and hop farmer in Medina County. This summer, he will also volunteer one day a week at the Cleveland Clinic in Wooster and shadow professionals at the main campus Cleveland Clinic and Wadsworth Family Physical.
Matthew plans to attend graduate school at the end of his junior year and graduate in six years with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree and license.
The Board of Directors of the Medina County Federal Credit Union established the Memorial Scholarship in 2000 in honor, memory, and recognition of those who have dedicated many years of distinguished volunteer service to the credit union.
Medina County Federal Credit Union has been serving Medina County since 1960. Starting out as small school credit union with deposits totaling $50, MedFed has grown to a multi-million dollar, full-service financial institution serving everyone who lives, works, attends school, or worships in Medina County. It ranks among the top 25 largest credit unions in Northeast Ohio.