Gene Graham lives on in LIT Safety Foundation and 13 scholarship awards for Spring 2019
BEAUMONT – How do you find solace after the death of a child? Therapy for Beth and Robert Krebs
came in the form of establishing a tribute to, and legacy for their fallen son — the Gene Graham Safety Foundation For Life.
The Lamar Institute of Technology Development Office recently awarded $18,500 in scholarships to 13 students in the Utility Line Program for the Spring 2019 semester thanks to contributions from the nonprofit organization. Graham was just 21 years old in 2009 when he was electrocuted in a work-related accident.
The foundation was formed in 2010 through a partnership between family members and Graham’s former employer and friend, Terry Radley. “It was all part of a healing process,” recalled his mom, Beth Krebs. “The hurt doesn’t go away. You just learn how to live with it.”
Since 2011, the development office has donated $132,850 to LIT for 103 scholarships. They raise money throughout the year to provide scholarships for LIT utility line students. Current Contributions are through employee and company match by several companies in Sour Lake. Both the Krebs have spoken at these companies, sharing their story and warning employees about safety.
Mrs. Krebs said, “Every year we share our story with the (LIT) lineman department.” The couple stresses the importance of following safety procedures to students, urging them not to be influenced by their co-workers to take shortcuts, but to remember the knowledge they received in class to perform their tasks safely.
Gene Graham had wanted to attend the lineman program at LIT, Mrs. Krebs said, and had repeatedly spoken of his interest. But Graham was already on his own and didn’t want to ask for help.
“We took a tragedy and made something good out of it—knowing this is helping others,” she added. I firmly believe some lives have been changed.” The Krebs’ goals are simple, she said: “We want to continue to touch people with Gene’s story and help ensure they return safely to their families.”