Donation creates bursaries for Paramedic students


Front (from left): Marg Cyr, executor of Olga Andrusiw’s estate; student Samantha Stewart; Sean Kennedy, VP, Student and External Relations. Back (from left): Students Ashley Gagnon, Dyllan Carr, Cody Race, Bryan Pomeroy, Charles Aubie and Sandra Pedler. All the Paramedic students photographed received a bursary from the Andrusiw -Niagara Paramedic Association.


One thousand dollars can go long way when you’re a student.

Just ask Samatha Stewart. This first-year Paramedic student was among 10 students to receive a bursary from the Andrusiw – Niagara Paramedic Association.

“I’m a mature student, I’m married, I have a house, so this really helps me out as I go back to school to follow my dream,” she said. “It has a huge impact. Financial support helps me focus on my studies.”

“This award encourages recipients to focus on academic excellence in the field of paramedicine,” said Carolyn Triemstra, chair, School of Allied Health. “The Paramedic program is both academically challenging and supportive of students giving back to the community through many volunteer experiences. The bursary supports students in committing to their studies, engaging in community endeavours as well as developing their leadership skills.”

The bursary is the legacy of Olga Andrusiw, known as an unassuming immigrant who, along with her husband Larry, worked hard to build a better life in her new country. When her husband Larry died a few years ago, she mentioned to her friend Marg Cyr that she was very appreciative of the help paramedics in Niagara provided to her husband. She died last year, leaving a $530,000 gift to support education and training for paramedics.

Niagara Community Foudnation donated $200,000 last January 2012. This was matched by the Ontario Trust for Student Support provincial program. Interest earned from the endowed $400,000 award resulted in $10,000 or 10 awards of $1,000 each.  The principal amount will continue to yield $10,000 every year (at current interest rates) in perpetuity for students in the paramedic program.

In fall 2012, the first bursaries were awarded to 10 paramedic students, and funds also provided training equipment to local paramedics last year.

“As a result of working with the Niagara Community Foundation, Olga’s desire to show her appreciation for the compassionate and sensitive treatment by Paramedics was not only met but surpassed,” said Marg Cyr, executor of the estate. “The Foundation was able to demonstrate to me as her executor, how matching funds could not only achieve but surpass her goal in a very substantial way. 

“It not only honours the paramedics but Olga and Larry Andrusiw, and demonstrates how a couple of even modest means can provide a remarkable gift which will benefit this and other communities in perpetuity,” she said.  “This gift also speaks to the importance and timeliness of creating a will because Olga died quite suddenly, shortly after her will was completed.”

A cheque presentation was held at Niagara College’s Welland Campus on Feb. 4.

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