Five Riverhead graduates awarded scholarships in memory of Heidi Behr

The spirit of Heidi Behr continues to be kept alive by Heidi’s Helping Angels, which handed out $2,000 scholarships to five recent Riverhead High School graduates Monday.

“Heidi lost her life volunteering in this town as an EMT,” said Chuck Thomas, the organization’s acting president. “Our goal is to have Heidi’s memory live on.”

In 2009, Heidi’s Helping Angels was founded by seven active members of the community to honor the memory of Ms. Behr, a single mother and emergency medical technician with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance, who died in an ambulance crash while responding to a call on May 3, 2005. She was 23.

Another paramedic on that ambulance, Bill Stone of Ridge, also died. 

Since Heidi’s Helping Angels was founded, its scholarship community has selected 55 community-minded high school seniors who have been awarded a total of $110,000 in scholarship money, according to Mr. Thomas.

He said the scholarships are chosen based on things like a student’s grades and community service.

John and June Behr, Heidi’s parents, were present Monday as the scholarships were handed out in front of the sign that reads “Heidi Behr Way,” as the street running along the Peconic River was named after her a few years ago.

June Behr said she and her husband are “the silent partners,” of the organization.

“But they do a tremendous amount of hard work to bring this about,” Mr. Behr said. “It started out as just one scholarship and it kept increasing. We’re happy to do it.” 

This year’s scholarship recipients are Jessica Murgolo, Megan McIntosh, Kate Chapman, Elizabeth Buckley and Caleigh Cantalupo. 

• Ms. Murgolo is planning to attend Quinnipiac University in Connecticut to study elementary education, as she hopes to be a teacher. She’s been involved in a number of community service projects, such as Key Club, student government, the Riverhead Faculty and Community Theatre. 

“I’ve been involved in about 15 clubs, she said. 

• Ms. McIntosh will be going to Molloy College to study adolescent education, as she hopes to become a math teacher. Her civic projects include putting down flags for the veterans. 

“This will help tremendously,” she said of the scholarship. “I’m so grateful.”

• Ms. Chapman will be attending the University of Rhode Island to study biology. 

She’s been involved with programs to help special education kids at a program in Mattituck.   

“We played games and did activities with them to make them feel special,” she said.  

• Ms. Buckley will be attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where she plans to study film. 

She’s been involved with Key Club and events to hold a prom for local senior citizens and a “safe Halloween” program inside the high school.

She said a few years ago, she went on a mission trip to Haiti. 

• Ms. Cantalupo will attend Lehigh University where she will study mechanical engineering. She’s been a class vice president as well as a vice president of student government, where she’s been involved in numerous fundraisers and events such as a walk for ALS, raising money for Habitat for Humanity, making donations to needy children through an Angel Tree.  

One of Heidi’s Helping Angel’s biggest fundraisers in their annual dinner help at Polish Hall. Mr. Thomas says it’s still uncertain if that will be allowed to be held this year due to state restrictions on event sizes due to COVID-19.