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The Veronica Marol Fire Protection Technology Scholarship

Veronica Marol grew up on a farm outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression. While these outside events impacted her life and those of her seven older siblings, a more direct incident shaped her worldview. At the tender age of just four weeks, Veronica was badly burned by flaming diapers that dropped into her crib from the stovepipe above, and she has lived her life bearing physical and psychological scars from that heartrending event.

As a child, Veronica’s greatest wish was to become a nurse. Her physical limitations as a result of the fire impeded that dream and, instead, she found herself working in the housekeeping department of the community hospital. On noting her ability to perform her job better than most others in the department, one physician asked where she had attended physical therapy. Her response: “I didn’t have physical therapy. On the farm, my parents expected me to help with all the chores. I fed the chickens, mucked the stalls, tended the garden and whatever else needed tending. The only thing I couldn’t do was to milk the cows since my fingers were too short and stubby from the fire. I even rode the mule when Daddy plowed the field!”

To commemorate her indominable spirit, her family has established the Veronica Marol Fire Protection Technology scholarship at Johnston Community College. “This is important to us. We want to help ensure others do not suffer similar wounds related to preventable fires,” said her granddaughter, Debbie Grippaldi, a JCC instructor in the Associate Degree Nursing program. Now a Carolina girl, Veronica’s family continue to be blessed with her presence and recently helped her celebrate her 100th birthday.