By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
BANGOR — The first scholarship jointly sponsored by the Maine Infantry Foundation and St. Andrew’s Masonic Lodge has been awarded to Brewer High School senior Kassidy Giggey, a Brewer resident.
“This joint scholarship was made available to students at Bangor High School, Brewer High School, and John Bapst” Memorial High School, indicated Brian Cotlar, the St. Andrew’s Lodge junior warden. He is employed by the Bangor Daily News.
According to Cotlar, local businesses that helped fund the $1,500 scholarship included Four Points Barbecue in Winterport and the Hermon Oil Co. “The support of these various businesses has been critical,” he said.
Established in 2009, the Maine Infantry Foundation supports Maine infantrymen and their families and maintains inside the Brewer Armory a museum room dedicated to the state’s infantrymen. This room and its artifacts are operated in conjunction with the Augusta-based Maine Military Museum.
The Brewer Armory is home to Maine’s only Army National Guard infantry company.
The MIF/Masonic Lodge scholarship contest required students “to write about a veteran” and “about their time in the military and what they learned about morality, friendship, and charity. Those are the Masonic virtues,” Giggey said.
She interviewed her older brother, Brandon Giggey, a former Army combat engineer who served one tour in Afghanistan and a second tour that included duty there and in Iraq.
“Over a series of conversations … I learned a lot about how those values apply to my brother,” she said. “I never thought about the values that come with being in the military.”
In her essay, Giggey reported that “my brother and his military friends have always had a bond that is stronger than all others. This was most strongly shown when my brother talked about his best friend Eric,” who “spent a lot of … time together” with Brandon Giggey, and they “even shipped overseas together” from Fort Carson, Colo., Kassidy wrote.
“When they deployed, they knew that there was potential for bad things to happen, but my brother never expected to lose Eric to a roadside bomb,” she wrote. “I have never seen my brother as sad as he is when he talks about Eric. Now, even years later, the friendship that they had is fresh in his mind.”
Later in the essay she noted that “my brother showed me that charity is shown in two ways in the military.” While in Afghanistan and Iraq, Brandon Giggey and his fellow soldiers distributed games and toys to local children.
Then there was “the charity that others display towards the military,” Kassidy Giggey wrote. “People are so gracious to our military men and women.” Brandon recalled his excitement after “the gracious heads of the Denver Broncos invited him to their draft party,” his sister wrote.
Kassidy Giggey learned on May 18 that the scholarship committee had selected her essay as the winning entry. She and her family members, including parents Charles and Kim Giggey, met with St. Andrew’s Lodge and Maine Infantry Foundation representatives at the Bangor Masonic Center on May 30; in a brief ceremony, Giggey received a scholarship award certificate.
She will receive the scholarship “after she achieves a 2.5 GPA (grade point average),” said Darryl Lyon, a Maine Army National Guard officer and St. Andrew’s Lodge senior deacon.
Next fall, “I’m going to the University of Maine at Farmington to study secondary education,” Giggey said. “My focus is going to be in English. I’m also hoping to minor in theater.
“I’ve been involved in theater since I was in the sixth grade,” she said.
According to Giggey, the scholarship “will help dramatically” with her education costs.