Westbrook Strong 5K raises funds in honor of 2013 alumnus

Members from the southern Maine and Saint Joseph’s College communities are uniting to remember a 2013 graduate of the College, Matthew Rairdon, on July 20 at the Westbrook Strong 5K. The event, which starts at Riverbank Park in Westbrook, honors Rairdon, a nursing graduate whose life was taken in November 2013. Shortly after his spring 2013 graduation, Rairdon had earned full-time employment as a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Portland.

Funds raised from the 5K support the creation of the Matthew Rairdon Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded to students from the Portland and Westbrook communities who wish to earn a nursing degree from Saint Joseph’s College. As of late June, the effort had raised approximately $18,000 of the $25,000 target.

“Matt was an amazing young man,” Matthew’s mother, Laurie, said in a recent interview with radio station WLOB. “In his early teens, he had an experience that landed him in the hospital, and therefore opened the door to a potential nursing degree. He found Saint Joe’s and absolutely loved…the school. I can’t help but feel, every time we go (to Saint Joseph’s campus), his presence.”

Heather Plati, Saint Joseph’s director of alumni engagement, noted Matthew’s strong connection with the nursing program and his classmates, saying he “had such a large impact in such a short four years on campus—really a superstar in his program and among his classmates.”

“We’re really excited to be a part of this, particularly through the Alumni Association,” said Ellis Baum, a 1998 graduate and the chair of Saint Joseph’s Alumni Association Board. “The thing with Saint Joe’s alumni is that we’re family. That sense of unity is really important to us, and one of the things a lot of people have been looking for is how do we help with this? So we’re putting a team together to run in the Westbrook Strong 5K. We’re about 25 people deep right now, and we’re looking for more recruits.” Baum’s Saint Joseph’s team is only a fraction of the nearly 100 people who have already registered for the race.

The July 20 race begins at 9:30 a.m. at Westbrook’s Riverbank Park. A Matt’s Mile race for children begins at 9 a.m. at the same location. For more information about the 5K including registration, visit www.westbrookstrong.com.

Saint Joseph’s Alumni who would like to make a contribution and/or join the Saint Joseph’s 5K team can contact Heather Plati at hplati@sjcme.edu.

June 19, 2014
Contact: David Svenson at 207-893-7723 · dsvenson@sjcme.edu