Amanda Morris doesn’t have many memories of her father, just photos. In one photo, he’s seated in a chair, holding her on his lap.
“He has the biggest smile on his face,” she said. “It’s my favorite photo.”
When she was a baby, Morris’ father, Travis Morris, was a choker setter for Don Whitaker Logging in Roseburg. On April 17, 1991, when she was only two years old, he was killed in a logging accident.
“Sometimes I remember little things about my dad,” she said. “You remember because people won’t let you forget. My grandmother says I remind her of him.”
Morris, a 2008 graduate of Roseburg High School, is one of five recipients of the Workers’ Memorial Scholarship award, presented annually by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assist in the post-secondary education of spouses or children of permanently and totally disabled or fatally injured workers.
The scholarship couldn’t have come at a better time for Morris, since her apartment burned down last summer, right before she was to enroll for her final year at Umpqua Community College (UCC).
“I got a phone call from my roommate, and she said ‘Our house is on fire,’” Morris said. “At first I didn’t believe her.”
Firefighters on the scene were able to save some of her things, including most of her family photos.
“I owe them a lot for saving things that meant a lot to me,” she said. “It didn’t really hit me until the next day when I got a call telling me that the roof was about to cave in, so I needed to get out anything else that I wanted. That was when I started to cry. It was really hard, but thanks to the scholarship, I was back on track before it was time for school to start.”
In addition to her studies, Morris works at the college in the job placement office and is assistant coach on the volleyball team. The head coach is her mother, Mary Morris. She is also active doing volunteer work in the community.
“One of the most fulfilling things I have done was work for a battered women’s advocacy group,” she said. “It made me so thankful for what I have with my family.”
Morris is currently deciding on a four-year college or university, and she is leaning toward nursing as a possible career.
“I would love to do nursing,” she said. “I love babies and would like to be an obstetrical nurse and work in labor and delivery. I want to be there for others the way people were there for us when I was growing up.”
“I am so grateful for the scholarship,” Morris adds. “It helps me be here at school so I can do something with my life.”
In 1991, the Workers’ Memorial Scholarship was established by the Oregon Legislature at the request of the Oregon AFL-CIO, with support from Associated Oregon Industries. The program is administered through the Department of Consumer and Business Services. It provides an opportunity to help surviving family members reach their educational goals. Interest earned on civil fines and penalties paid to Oregon OSHA provide funding for the scholarship. This scholarship program also accepts donations.
The scholarship is open to any Oregon high school graduate, graduating high school senior, GED recipient, or current college undergraduate or graduate student who was a dependent or spouse of an Oregon worker who was fatally injured or permanently and totally disabled while on the job, and whose claim for workers’ compensation benefits was accepted.
Award recommendations are made by Oregon OSHA’s Safe Employment Education and Training Advisory Committee with members from business, organized labor, and government.
For more information about this scholarship program, contact Berta Wood with Oregon OSHA, 503.947.7396, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is from the spring 2011 issue of Comp News. See other articles from this publication.