Classmates Memorialize Friend and Hero through Scholarship

Jerry Read (Provided photo)

Jerry Read (Provided photo)

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area High School Class of 1973 has established a scholarship fund in memory of a “friend, classmate and hero,” Jerry Read, who lost his life in a Navy Yard shooting in September in Washington, D.C.

Read, who is known by his classmates and friends as “Jerry,” saved the life of a female co-worker by pushing her beneath a desk and barricading her in during the shooting. Then, he pulled a cubicle partition into the gunman’s path in hopes of stopping or slowing him, according to a Sept. 23 Washington Post report.

Jerry’s heroic act saved the life of his co-worker. However, it didn’t save his life. “We are proud to have known him,” said Frank Barba, a classmate who is a part of establishing the memorial scholarship.

According to Barba, Jerry was actively involved with Boy Scouts all the way through high school. Jerry, he said, rose to the rank of Eagle Scout and went on to have a successful military career.

“Jerry had a good upbringing. He had a good family,” said Barba. “We want to award the scholarship to a Clearfield High School senior who is an Eagle Scout. We want it to go to someone who will be so proud to have gotten it.”

Barba said he and his classmates can always change the parameters of the scholarship, which will be a $1,000 award. Barba said they continue to seek donations, as they want the scholarship to grow and continue into the future.

David Read, Jerry’s older brother, had gone off to college when Jerry had started high school. “I can remember coming home for the first time and going to the football game, because that’s what you do.

“ . . . Jerry was the drum major and commanded the band onto the field. I knew then he was well on his way to being successful at whatever it was that he decided to do. I just knew he’d do it well.”

Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen also remembered Jerry as someone who made Clearfield County very proud. “One of the true signs of an Eagle Scout is that you can just tell. They don’t have to tell you; you just know.”

Dave Read said Jerry visited with him about four times a year, and the two often went to Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub. However, he said it wasn’t until his younger brother’s funeral and visitation that he truly grasped his dedication to and focus on his job.

“It made him a good military man,” he said. Barba said the CHS Class of 1973 also plans to have a bench installed in memory of Jerry; its location hasn’t been decided upon by the class.

Established by a community effort in November of 2004, the Clearfield County Charitable Foundation builds endowment funds, which grow and benefit the community. The CCCF’s mission is “to provide a simple way to fulfill multiple charitable interests” and to “help build an individual or family legacy.”

The CCCF is designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The CCCF is one of more than 35 community foundations throughout Pennsylvania with the mission of helping to meet the charitable and social needs of its communities.

For more information, you can call 814-592-7331, visit the CCCF Web site or e-mail cccfinfo@yahoo.com. Donations can be sent to the Jerry Read Scholarship Fund at the Clearfield County Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 1442, Clearfield, PA 16830.

Click here to view and download the Jerry Read Memorial Scholarship application.

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