The parents of a former Fairmont State University student who died last year have created, with the help of several other donors, a new scholarship to support students studying occupational safety and to honor their late son’s memory.
Ellen and Ronnie Shaffer topped off a scholarship fund raising effort to endow the Bradley Parker Shaffer Scholarship. The endowment will provide scholarships to Fairmont State University students studying occupational safety, preferably from Tucker County. If no student is eligible from Tucker County, first preference is for a student from West Virginia. Students must have a minimum of a 2.5 grade point average. The scholarship fund will provide about $1,000 annually for scholarships.
“We had life insurance money in place to repay any loans borrowed for his education, which we learned would be discharged due to his death,” said Ellen. “We felt the best thing to do was to give the money that would have been used to repay his loan to Fairmont State University to provide an opportunity for others to reach their goals. We could not think of a more fitting tribute to honor Bradley’s memory.”
Ellen described Bradley as a vibrant young man whose life was cut short at the age of 24. He was a graduate of Fairmont State University, class of 2018. He graduated with a bachelor’s in occupational safety and an associate’s in safety engineering technology and held the designation of a Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP).
“He had many talents, including intelligence, humor, compassion and adventure, but his greatest attribute was the gift of seeing what was in the heart of others and providing them with what they needed, whether that be attention, time, advice, understanding or acceptance,” Ellen said.
As a student in occupational safety, Bradley fulfilled an internship requirement under the direction of the Fairmont State Safety Manager Craig Crimm.
“He was an exceptional intern and was a tremendous help with the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) program on campus,” said Crimm. “ He was very detailed in his work and was always eager to learn more. You couldn’t ask more from an intern.”
When Bradley’s family notified Crimm of Bradley’s death, he initiated fund raising for a one-time scholarship in memory of Bradley.
“Our hearts were so touched by his act of thoughtfulness in honoring the memory of our son that we decided to pass along the opportunity to friends and family to contribute as well.”
After those contributions were made, the Shaffers added the additional funds required to permanently endow this scholarship. They also provided funding to allow the first scholarship to be given for the 2020-21 year.
“Because Bradley was unable to live out his passion for workplace safety, it was important to our family for Bradley’s vision to be extended to a student who also had the same desire,” Ellen said. “By establishing this scholarship, we hope to continue Bradley’s legacy of reaching out to care for others. Even though we lost our beautiful son, there can still be something positive to come from this. Hope for the future is given by sharing his legacy and his story.”
The Shaffers said they also want to thank those who contributed to Bradley’s scholarship fund.
“I extend to each of you a sincere ‘thank you’. Whether you gave $5 or $1,000, he would be so proud to know you thought enough of him to give to this fund to help his memory live on,” Ellen said.
“We are so appreciative of this gift to support occupational safety students,” said Julie R. Cryser, Fairmont State Foundation president. “Out of tragedy, the Shaffers and other donors have created a legacy for Bradley that will assist future students for years to come.”
Fairmont State offers both a two- and four-year degree in occupational safety.
The endowment was created through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of the Fairmont State University.