After evaluating hundreds of submissions, we have selected the winner for our Hach & Rose, LLP Annual College Scholarship for 2021. This year’s winner is Eric Noreen.
Eric was an 11-year-old sixth grader when his mother was seriously injured in a violent hit and run accident. The driver who hit her was high on methamphetamine, had a suspended license, and was tailgating her. Later, Eric and his family found out that his mother was the man’s third hit and run victim. He is now serving a life sentence, but only after causing immense harm and misery to the Noreens.
Eric’s mother needed surgery after the accident to have two of her vertebrae fused. The surgery did not go as planned, causing Eric’s mother to need a spinal cord stimulator implanted. She needed a walker to move around and was unable to provide the same active style of parenting she had before the accident. Those first several months were trying for the family, with Eric’s mother in constant pain, dealing with the emotional toll of losing her mobility, as well as the difficulty of having to go on disability. After years of coping with her new reality, Eric’s mother was later diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which the doctors attributed to her back injury.
Nevertheless, Eric’s mother is a constant source of inspiration to him. He is studying Social Work at the University of Oklahoma, where he hopes to earn his Masters in 2022. He says that the “events that both myself and my family have experienced has inspired me throughout my young adult life to pursue a career in Social Work and to help those affected by negligence in the many forms it unfortunately comes in.”