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2013 First Runner Up - Essay

Emily Manley

Scholarship Amount: $7,500

Hometown: Palatine, IL - School: Eastern Illinois University

I am Emily, the sole survivor of a car accident that killed my best friend, my father. It was December 3, 2010. After sharing dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, we had gotten into the car to proceed home. That is the last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital. When my mom shared the news about my dad, I was devastated. I spent 8 painful days in critical care and orthopedics. I couldn’t return to school for 2 months and spent another five grueling months in physical therapy. That was only the beginning of what has become a long healing process.

My father had left his job, expecting to return the following year, to care for my ailing grandmother. His life insurance at work was cancelled. Who knew the unexpected would happen a short 5 weeks later?

Following the death of my father, I was introduced to a counselor who helped me tremendously. I want to continue in his footsteps assisting students in the areas of conflict resolution, grief, crisis management and special needs. I would like to enhance and provide services for the social and emotional growth and academic outcomes of all students.

The shock of losing my father has had an enormous effect on me both emotionally and financially. There is not a day that goes by that I do not grieve for my dad. What was taken from me was my father, but what was given to me at the same time was financial insecurity and worries about my future plans. With every loan agreement I sign, I am reminded of the fact that my dad did not have life insurance and the percussions that have prevented me from the worry-free college experience that I should’ve, could’ve and would’ve had. Life insurance is for peace of mind. That is something we have yet to experience since that fateful day.

My mother has accepted a job in the hospitality business; however, it has yet to be fruitful enough to pay our bills and tuition. We are planning to move this summer when our lease runs out. I have been working at the recreation center the University to help pay some of my obligations. It pays minimally, but I am doing my best.

Had my father had life insurance we would not have to face our everyday worries such as buying food, shampoo or gas for the twelve year old car. I would be able to continue my education at EIU and continue to live in the residence my mom and I so fondly remember. The savings that my mother had would not have been depleted to pay the accommodating physicians that had taken care of me during my recovery. She would not be forced to borrow money from family members.

I encourage everyone to invest in life insurance. It will be my #1 priority.

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2013 Top Recipients