Justin O’Connor was a loving son and caring brother. Only 17 years old, he was a generous friend and gifted athlete whose joy and love for life were contagious. Justin was entering his senior year of high school with a dream of playing college baseball. That dream ended on an early morning in July 2017 because of distracted driving. His family started the Justin O’Connor Memorial Fund at Eastern Carolina Community Foundation to honor Justin’s memory and share his dreams with other young people.
Two scholarships of $1,000 will be awarded Thursday night, June 7, 2018, at the Community Foundation’s Russell Conference Room. An academic award will be made for achievement based on the qualities of Justin who is remembered for his outgoing nature, love of working in groups, and great sense of humor. An athletic award will be given to a student athlete who has been accepted to a 4-year college or university to play a specific sport. Applicants were required to address their experience with distracted driving.
Will Hardee, a graduating senior at South Florence High school, will receive the athletic award. He will play baseball for Coastal Carolina’s Chanticleers.
Eleanor Rose Vereen, a graduating senior at Marlboro Academy in Bennettsville, will receive the academic award and will attend Winthrop University.
The scholarship winners and their families are invited to a reception at the Community Foundation where they can meet Justin O’Connor’s parents and family.
Eastern Carolina Community Foundation works with individuals, families, churches and organizations to establish permanent charitable funds to meet the current and future needs of communities throughout the seven counties of the Pee Dee. It is a tax-exempt public charity created by local citizens to improve the quality of life in this region. To learn more about the Community Foundation, please call 843-667-1131 or visit www.easterncarolinacf.org.