John Gawronski of Norwich, NY was awarded the Selected Independent Funeral Homes’ Educational Trust’s Second-Career Scholarship on November 22, 2010. $1,500 was paid toward his Mortuary Science coursework at American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service (AAMI) in New York, NY.
The scholarship was the second to be awarded since the program’s inception. The first recipient, Robert Bogue of Frankfort, IN, was announced in September 2010.
Gawronski is a father of three whose career has spanned from the U.S. Congress to a national nonprofit organization to wireless communications. He holds a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and has earned a 3.85 grade point average during his three semesters at AAMI. He has long been drawn to the funeral service profession since experiencing a family tragedy resulting in the death of his 17-year-old brother from an auto accident when Gawronski was just 12 years old. It was this experience that made him realize what an important factor a funeral service plays in helping a family member cope with grief.
“As a future funeral director, I will consistently reflect on my own experience when considering whether I am offering each family superior service to ensure that I am helping to provide some degree of comfort to the bereaved,” said Gawronski.
He currently is employed full-time at Wilson Funeral Home, Inc. in Norwich, N.Y., which has been owned in whole or in part by the Wilson family for the past 50 years. Gawronski serves a number of roles in his current position, including (with supervision) oversight of visiting hours and funeral services and helping to manage the funeral home’s finances and website. It is his goal to complete his education, pass the national board exam, fulfill New York’s one-year residency requirement, pass the NY law exam, and own/operate the Wilson Funeral Home upon the current owner’s retirement.
“John has proven to be a very worthy recipient, with sincere empathy for families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. He wants to make a positive impact on the profession,” said Robert J. Paterkiewicz, Administrative Trustee for the Educational Trust. “We are very pleased to be able to assist John to help lessen the financial burden involved with completing his mortuary science studies.”
“I am grateful to the Trust for extending me this very helpful and timely award,” said Gawronski. “It will go a long way toward ensuring the well-being of my family of five, my continued progress through mortuary school, and my passionate desire to serve families well as a funeral director.”