Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) invests in a new “Friendship House” in Shreveport, La. Also, CSX awards scholarships to 10 children of first responders.
Community Renewal on Sept. 6 dedicated its newest “Friendship House,” thanks to community funding partner CPKC. The home is located in the historic Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhood of Shreveport.
Friendship Houses are built in at-risk neighborhoods and lived in by Community Renewal staff, to “provide education, fellowship, after-school activities, family events, community service projects and more in a safe and caring environment,” according to Community Renewal. There are currently 10 Friendship Houses in five other neighborhoods of Shreveport/Bossier: Allendale, Barksdale Annex, Cedar Grove, Highland, and Queensborough.
At the dedication event attended by CPKC representatives, Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux, elected officials, and citizens, CPKC announced that, through its charitable fund, the railroad will provide an additional $25,000 for playground equipment and a multi-purpose court at the Friendship House. The railroad will also establish a challenge grant for operational expenses that, if fully matched by other donors, will provide up to $275,000 and fund about two years of operations.
“CPKC is honored to serve the Martin Luther King neighborhood by supporting the important work Community Renewal is doing in Shreveport,” CPKC President and CEO Keith Creel said. “This home is a bright spot in the community, and it provides hope and opportunity that make a difference. Friendship House is an outstanding example of what we can achieve by coming together.”
“All of us are encouraged beyond words to have this high opportunity to partner together with CPKC and the residents of our historic Martin Luther King neighborhood in advancing the cause of caring for one another,” Community Renewal Founder and Coordinator Mack McCarter said. “CPKC is demonstrating that they not only serve the communities along their rails but they are also stepping up to help strengthen the very life of those communities. Our friends and neighbors join us in celebrating this great company that illustrates what we know to be true: Caring alone cannot heal our world, but caring together can!”
CSX, in partnership with national nonprofit First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF), on Sept. 6 announced the 10 students earning CSX Pride in Service Scholarships for the 2023/2024 academic year. CSX and FRCF have awarded a total of $100,000 in scholarship funds in 2023, including a total of 240 students in 25 states where the Class I railroad operates.
Awards are based on “financial need as well as academic merit, demonstrated leadership, outstanding performance in the arts or sports and community volunteerism,” reported the organizations, which noted that recipients are encouraged to reapply annually for a maximum of four years. “CSX Pride in Service scholars also show an interest in pursuing a life of service to society, as demonstrated by their first responder parent(s).”
Since 2018, through the CSX Pride in Service community investment initiative, CSX and FRCF said they have teamed to support the specific needs of children of first responders through scholarships, financial assistance grants, and bereavement assistance, as well as to foster community engagement.
The 2023/2024 academic year scholarship recipients are:
- Emma Braun (Gainesville, Fla.): A graduate student, Braun attends Santa Fe College and is studing exercise and sports science. Her father was a firefighter who passed away due to work-related cancer, and her mother is an EMS Captain.
- Darius Butler (Smyrna, Tenn.): A freshman at Tennessee State University, Butler is studying nursing. His father is an Operation Chief for the Nashville Fire Department.
- Maeve Colburn (Walpole, Mass.): Colburn is a Regis College sophomore studying nursing. Her father retired from the police force due to a line-of-duty disability.
- Rena Gilbertson (Pinellas, Fla.): A senior at the University of South Florida, Gilbertson is studying nursing. Her father was a firefighter who passed away in November 2022 due to work-related cancer.
- Aniya Irvin (Murfreesboro [Nashville], Tenn.): Irvin, a freshman at Alabama A&M University, is pursuing a degree in psychology. Her father is a Captain with the Nashville Fire Department.
- Nasir Monteiro (East Bridgewater, Mass.): A freshman at Merrimack College, Monteiro is studying communications and media. His mother is an EMT.
- Timothy O’Connor (Jensen Beach, Fla.): O’Connor is a first-year law student at Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. His father is a retired NYPD police officer who responded on 9/11.
- Maurice Oldham (Chicago, Ill.): A sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Oldham is pursuing a degree in criminal justice. His father is an active officer with the Chicago Police Department.
- Natalie Taunton (Jacksonville, Fla.): A sophomore attending Florida State University, Taunton is studying string performance. Her father is a Lieutenant with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
“CSX is committed to serving those who serve, our nation’s military, veterans, and of course, first responders,” said Bryan Tucker, CSX Vice President of Corporate Communications. “We’re honored to empower these scholars as they work toward their degrees and to perpetuate a cycle of service, inspired by their parents.”
“Children of first responders face unique challenges, and FRCF is enormously grateful to CSX for its continued support of our efforts,” FRCF President and CEO Jillian Crane said. “These young adults grow up watching their parent or parents head into harm’s way every day, and, tragically, some lose parents to the job. CSX understands the importance of supporting these children, and these scholarships will go a long way in helping this special group of youth pursue their higher education.”