The Rewards of Giving Back

New Scholarship Honors the Gift of Service

At 83, Kitty McQuillan has built a lifetime of memories. She’s also spent her lifetime creating moments of hope for other people—those who found help when they needed it most. It could have been something small, a smile that brightened a nursing home resident’s day, or something as generous as opening her home up to someone in need.

“She is someone who is very strong and my first impression of her, honestly, was that she was so kind, truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met,” her daughter-in-law, Kristen, said. “I’m sure that’s how many people think of her.”

A 1955 Westmont Hilltop graduate, Kitty has lived in the area most of her life, aside from the years she spent in nursing school at Georgetown University. After she returned and married Dr. Bernard McQuillan, she raised nine children and then spent decades working in local retirement homes, including at LaurelWood Care Center in Johnstown, where she finished her career. She has 28 grandkids now, plus five great-grandchildren.

Through her busy work and family schedules, she always dedicated time and energy to a number of local organizations: as one of the founders of Mom’s House, Inc. of Johnstown, an organization that helps single parents and their children; as an involved hockey parent and grandparent for the Westmont Hilltop Hockey Boosters; as a donor to area food banks and community causes; as an active member of her church, St. Clement Parish; and anywhere else she saw a need.

Now Kristen has set up a scholarship fund to encourage high school students to follow in her footsteps.

The Kitty McQuillan Community Service Scholarship Fund will provide an annual award to a graduating senior at Westmont Hilltop who demonstrates a strong history of volunteer or community service.

“I believe giving back is very important, and I try to instill that in my own children,” Kristen said. “I feel like I picked up some of that from her—giving time, talent, and treasure to the community of Johnstown.”

In addition to honoring Kitty, Kristen said she hopes the scholarship helps demonstrate that service and volunteerism can be a worthy lifelong pursuit. In that spirit, scholarship award decisions will focus on gestures of kindness and generosity, rather than academic achievements.

“All kids have gifts,” Kristen said. “Giving back is one of the most important things you can do. It makes a big difference in your own life, too.”

To find out more or donate to the scholarship fund, CLICK HERE.