With fundraiser, friends of Bridget help nursing students
In death, Bridget McGrath is still making friends.
Not that she didn't have more friends than most people already, and good friends, at that.
McGrath, who was 28 when she was killed in an automobile accident in June 2010, was honored by four of her best friends Saturday at Twin Lakes Park with a walk/run event to raise money for a scholarship fund in her memory at Westmoreland County Community College.
Her parents, Kevin and Gina McGrath of Hannastown, who established the scholarship to aid a deserving nursing student at the college, said they were gratified by yesterday's turnout and the work it took to put the event together.
"It shows just how good people are," said Kevin McGrath, "and how people are there for you when you really need them. You have children, but you never know all the people they've touched."
"I'm just overwhelmed," added Gina McGrath.
Three thousand people were at the funeral home to pay their respects to Bridget Marie McGrath in the days after her death. By all accounts, she had a bubbly, effervescent personality.
"She was wonderful," said Aimee Shultz, one of the four friends who worked countless hours to put Saturday's event together. "She would do anything for anybody. She never said a mean thing about another person in her life."
Shultz said her motto, since McGrath's death, has been "What Would Bridget Do• -- WWBD?"
The four friends -- Shultz, Jen Falo, Valerie DeMichele and Joline Keeler were schoolmates with McGrath, graduating from Hempfield Area High School in the same year -- 2000. One of their friend's outstanding qualities, they all said, was her ability to stay in touch, not just with them but other friends -- "thousands," it was said -- she had collected through the years.
Her death brought her four best friends even closer together in spirit and purpose. Beginning a year ago, their plan was to gather some friends in celebration of McGrath's life. Later, they added the fund-raising component of yesterday's event.
The four traveled from one end of the community to the other, collecting items from businesses for the auctioning off of gift baskets that took place Saturday under Pavilion 2 at the park. All told, there were 49 baskets. More than 100 businesses provided gifts.
McGrath graduated from the Westmoreland County College nursing program a mere six weeks before dying and had already landed a job, with Dr. Frank Costa in Monroeville.
Gina McGrath said her daughter "loved" nursing, and her friends said it was perfect for her because, as Keeler put it, "she loved doing for others."
Having come late to nursing, she embraced it fully, said her mother, adding that McGrath was planning on becoming a nurse practitioner.
"She was at the peak of her life," Gina McGrath said.
The hope is that the Bridget McGrath Scholarship will continue far into the future. "Even when we're gone," Gina McGrath said.
McGrath's best friends promised "a bigger, better event next year", replete with a web site and a Facebook page, in celebration of McGrath and in support of the run/walk.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Seton Hill won’t manage new apartment project for student housing in city
- Day care operator gets long sentence for neglect of children
- Burglars strike 3 businesses in Hempfield plaza
- Write-in opens up mayoral race in Greensburg
- Juvenile status hearing, trial delayed in Franklin Regional stabbings
- Pair of zoning requests denied by Unity board
- Unity resident again accused of burglary
- Ligonier Township K-9 officer home to recover from deadly collision
- State police to offer car seat inspections in Hempfield