Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC announce Kristin Helton as 2016 winner of $1,200 college scholarship

2016 scholarship winnerGagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC are proud to announce that Kristin Helton has been awarded a $1,200 college scholarship. Growing up in a small, farm community in Illinois, Kristin always dreamed of helping others. A strong desire to assist those in need and a personal connection to the military served as her inspiration for her winning essay, which reads, in part:

“Before considering applying for this incredible scholarship opportunity, I thought long and hard about the essay topic.  I was unsure if I was qualified to address the issue, as I have never served in the military. However, many of my family members have served and laid their lives on the line to help protect and better this country.  With this in mind, I can also relate to what it feels like to want to serve your country and your community, which is why I became a nurse.  I also did a lot of research to familiarize myself more with the Uniform Code of Military Justice to better understand what this essay topic entailed.”

Before graduating high school, Kristin and her best friend, Sarah, made a pact: Attend and graduate nursing school together. Sadly, Sarah passed away as the result of a car collision and the thought of attending college without her best friend was initially too much to bear for Kristin. She chose to enter the workforce instead of pursuing her dreams, finding work at the Byron Forest Preserve where she quickly impressed all whom she worked with. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the recreation park closed and Kristin decided to follow her dreams.

Attending college was not always easy for Kristin. Raising a young daughter with her significant other forced Kristin to strike a balance between family life and the pursuit of her goals. Thanks to dedication and perseverance, she was able to graduate with honors, receiving Sauk Valley’s Health Professions’ Recognition Award for excellence in leadership, services, perseverance, patience, advocacy, professionalism and enthusiasm.

Striving to make a difference in the lives of others and effect positive change, Kristin accepted a position at KSB Hospital’s Behavioral Healthcare/Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Kristin hopes to be able to educate the public and help eliminate the stigma that is associated with mental illness. By providing holistic and compassionate care, she will act as an advocate on behalf of those society often ignores. Patients with mental illness will be assured that they have at least one person on their side if they are fortunate enough to cross paths with this empathetic and caring nurse.

Kristin is dedicated to her goals and the pursuit of a better future for her daughter, her family, her patients and her community. Whether service member or civilian, Kristin hopes that her patients and all those her spirit touches will remember her for her humility. Tirelessly putting others’ needs before her own, she believes in always standing up for what is right. “I have always felt that life is bigger than ourselves,” she said, “and it is those around us that give meaning and purpose to our lives.”

Please join us in congratulating Kristin as the recipient of this scholarship. We are certain that there are many people who will benefit from Kristin’s generous and giving spirit and we wish her all the success as she pursues her lifelong dream of assisting those who need her most.