On November 5th, 1972, our sister, our parent’s first-born daughter, Dorine, was killed in a car accident 50 yards from our home in South Carver. She had come home for the weekend from New English Baptist School of Nursing, where she was a freshman. She was only 18. It was a night that we will never forget. As a result of the accident, the scholarship fund emerged.
Dorine was the second of seven, Mike being the first, then Dorine, Sandy, me (Donna), Sonya, Judy and David. She was such a hard worker, proving that with her work with the Youth Group at the United Parish. One project the group undertook was to sell wood to campers at Myles Standish State Forest every Saturday. She and other members of the group would load wood onto a dilapidated truck, drive over with Dad and others then sell it. They worked hard to unload the wood, became hot and sweaty, but made money for Youth Group activities! This was just one fund raiser she helped establish that continued for many years.
Dorine also showed compassion. Participating in a walk-a-thon was one event where she demonstrated this compassion. Mr. Sprague, a Carver resident, had had an accident, breaking almost every bone in his body. Dorine and other Carver teens organized this walk-a-thon to raise money for his family. The walk was 20 miles long and pledges were given to each person for each mile walked. Hundreds walked, and the amount collected made a huge difference for the Sprague family.
When she was killed, it was decided to further her compassionate efforts and raise money for those in need. We organized a 20-mile walk-a-thon, continuing Dorine’s event, through our Dad’s church, now the Protestant Church of Carver. It remained successful for many years.
Time passed, things changed and the walk-a-thon dwindled. We, Dorine’s siblings, decided to raise money a new way. Fellow runners can understand my desire to start a road race and in November of 2000 we held the first Edaville Rail Run! We will be holding our 18th race this November and feel the future is bright with more money every year being raised to be given out in scholarships and grants. The scholarship fund, now the memorial fund, was established to raise funds to give to a Carver resident going into his/her second or third year of college. Helping deserving people immortalizes Dorine’s empathetic spirit, and special consideration is given to nursing students to further connect with Dorine’s interests. The grants also being awarded are for programs that enhance the lives of the youth of Carver.
Why Edaville? We Merritt’s are from Carver. Our Dad, Bob Merritt, grew up here in Edaville in the house across from the gazebo, and our Grandfather helped lay the tracks for the train. Dorine and Sandy both worked here, and we all rode the train every Christmas season. We would also come over and skate on Swan Pond during the festival, the Christmas music in the background setting the mood. Our connection to this location enhances the special feeling of raising money for a loved one.
We thank you for participating in our race – whether it is as a volunteer or as a runner/walker. Because of you, we are able to keep Dorine’s memory and spirit alive. Because of you, we are able to contribute to student’s who are fulfilling their dream of finishing college, and give back to the Carver community which gave us so much as we were growing up. We hope to see you at this year’s race with family, young and old. It is a unique event not to be missed!
When I think of Dorine Merritt, I remember the wonderful times we shared as best friends in high school. In those days, I was fortunate to have two best friends, and Dorine was definitely one of them. Whether it was singing together in the chorus, hanging out at PCHS, going to the dances or proms together, or being active in Plymouth Assembly #86 Order of the Rainbow Girls, we always had fun together. Hers was a treasured friendship, and one I could always count on.
Dorine’s bubbly personality and playful spirit always brought a smile to my face. I so looked forward to spending time with such a great friend. Dorine was a sweet person who at such a young age exuded extraordinary humility, love, and compassion. I remember the Saturday we walked 20 miles together in Carver for a fundraiser she was involved in. We had lots of laughs. But, boy, did our feet and bodies ache at the end of the day! It was well worth it though. It was for a good cause, and we both knew it. That was one cherished memory I will never forget.
When it came time to decide on the direction each of us would head professionally, I remember urging Dorine to become a nurse. Because I had already been accepted at the New England Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, I strongly encouraged her to apply. I knew Dorine would make an awesome nurse. She had a huge heart, a kind spirit, and a compassionate soul. What could be better than that? When Dorine applied to the Baptist and was accepted, I was overjoyed! Boy, would we make lots of memories together in Boston. And we did, at least for three short months while at nursing school until that unforgettable night when Dorine was abruptly taken from all of us.
Do we still miss Dorine? Absolutely. Will she be remembered? Without a doubt. Will we continue to love her? Always… for those precious, loving memories of Dorine have surely been emblazoned on our hearts forever.
Dorine, I missed having you at my side at our 35th PCHS reunion this year. In fact, I have only gone to one other high school reunion up until now, because I knew it would never be the same without you. And it wasn’t. But, I guess some things aren’t meant to be. One thing I do know though is that this world was surely better because you were in it. Thank you for your gifts of love. Thank you for the blessed friendship that we shared. Thank you for shining your beautiful light wherever you traversed. I will love you and remember you – always.
PCHS Class of 1972
The Dorine Merritt Memorial Fund is a non-profit organization, and a 501 3C organization that awards scholarships and grants to support the youth of Carver. The race began in 2000 with 100 registered runners. it has grown to close to 1000 runners, volunteers and spectators. The Memorial Fund was established as the Dorine Merritt Scholarship Fund in 1973 when Dorine Merritt, a Carver resident, was killed in a car accident. She was attending New England Baptist School of Nursing at the time.
From 1973 – 2000, a $500.00 scholarship was awarded to one sophomore or junior college student. In 2000, the Edaville Rail Run race began with 100 registered runners/walkers. In 2009, the number had increased to 650, and we anticipate this number will continue to grow. With the increased amount of money raised, we have been able to extend the gifts given, and now also award grants. the Memorial Fund now awards 3 scholarships to both high school students and college students.
In 2008, we added a grant program. In the past, grants have been awarded to the Carver Recreation Department to run a swimming program that was going to be discontinued due to lack of funds; the Fire Department, who purchased safety equipment used for training; the Old Home Day Association, who provided Carver youth with activities during the Old Home Day Festivities; the 6th grade middle school class and Boy Scout Troop 48, to allow all students and members to attend an outdoor educational camp. Grants have been awarded to the Carver Recreation Department, Carver Fire Department, the Old Home Day Association, the 6th grade middle school class, the Boy Scout Troop 48, YPAC and the Zach Kane Medical Fund.
We have donated $20,000.00 to the Young Peoples Alliance of Carver (YPAC) and continue to support their efforts to offer students after school programs.
The Edaville Rail Run is the sole fundraiser for the Memorial fund. Monies are raised through sponsorship and race entry fees. The Edaville Rail Run consists of a 5 mile run and a 2 mile run/walk. The race is unique as the course winds through the Mass Division of Fisheries & Wildlife cranberry bogs within Edaville USA. The days festivities brings the running community together, and promotes health and fitness to all family members to participate.