The $1 million Pioneer Memorial Scholarship fund was created to serve Crook County residents

 - Nine Crook County High School seniors were awarded the Pioneer Memorial Scholarship during an awards ceremony Tuesday evening. Pictured are the committee members and students. Left to right, Dan Schuette (presenter), Odessa Tramel-Green, Cindy Villagomez Vargas, Esmerelda Ortiz-Ventura, Brian Barney (presenter), Abby Dalton, Alyssa Davis, Deb Shaw (presenter), Jordan Elliott, Lacey Brotherton and Tyler Fioravanti. Not pictured, Lizeth Lopez.

A dozen local students' career goals are now closer within reach.

Thanks to innovative thinking by the board of the Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville, the recent sale of their building has resulted in a charitable fund, which will award scholarships to Crook County residents for many years to come.

During the senior awards ceremony Tuesday evening at Crook County High School, nine graduates were awarded Pioneer Memorial Scholarships. Three non-high school community members were also awarded scholarships this week.

The outgoing board of Pioneer Memorial Hospital and St. Charles Healthcare agreed to set aside $1 million from the sale to support health care in the community by awarding scholarships to Crook County high school seniors and community residents pursuing a degree in a health-related field.

To accomplish this, the Pioneer Memorial Hospital board decided to create a scholarship fund at the Oregon Community Foundation. Since the fund's creation last July, it has grown by more than $61,000 due to OCF's investment program, and just this week the fund awarded the first 12 scholarships, totaling $30,000.

"This scholarship fund will be a wonderful asset for students in Crook County who want to pursue an education in healthcare and who plan to return to Crook County to further their career and contribute to the health of our community," said Brian Barney, chairman of the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Residual Board. "We thought it was a great way to honor the people that had, for so many years, contributed to Pioneer Memorial Hospital. That was why we created it. It is a legacy to Pioneer Memorial Hospital and the community."

This year's inaugural recipients include nine recent CCHS graduates who received four-year renewable scholarships to attend schools, including Central Oregon Community College and Oregon Institute of Technology. The students intend to pursue careers in nursing, radiology, dermatology, and EMT services, just to name a few.

In addition to awards made to the high school seniors moving on to higher education, three scholarships were awarded to adults who have lived in Crook County for at least five years and were interested in returning to school to pursue or further careers in health care-related fields.

The scholarships, in the amounts of either $5,000, $3,000 or $1,000, are renewable each year the students remain in college and meet the criteria.

Cheryl Puddy, a program officer with Oregon Community Foundation, said the dollar amounts were based on how long the education will take and at what level.

Julie Gregory, Regional Director for the Oregon Community Foundation's Central and Eastern Oregon office, said that this fund will have a significant impact in Crook County.

"Thanks to OCF's prudent investment strategy, all of our charitable funds grow over time and provide an ever-increasing source of support for the Oregon nonprofit community and for scholarships," she explained, noting that the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Scholarship Fund is permanently endowed and so will be a resource into perpetuity.

"It's such an honor for OCF to be able to support this effort to provide scholarships for Crook County students pursuing an education and opportunities in the healthcare field and perhaps to return to Crook County to practice," Gregory said. "I think it's such an inspired idea for Pioneer Memorial Hospital and St. Charles to agree to set aside proceeds from the sale of the building as a charitable resource to benefit their community. This is an amazing legacy for Pioneer Memorial Hospital and for healthcare in Crook County."


Pioneer Memorial Scholarship Awardees

High school students:

Lacey Brotherton – $5,000

Abby Dalton – $1,000

Alyssa Davis – $1,000

Jordan Elliott – $5,000

Tyler Fioravanti – $1,000

Lizeth Lopez – $1,000

Esmerelda Ortiz-Ventura – $1,000

Odessa Tramel-Green – $3,000

Cindy Villagomez Vargas – $1,000

Community members:

Megan Allen – $5,000

Gretchen Kessi – $1,000

Gwyneth Ptomey – $5,000

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