Losing his long-time partner Michael Misch in July, 2019 to heart disease was the catalyst for John Matchett to honor Michael’s life with scholarships for MCCN students. In 2020, he established the Michael Misch Memorial Scholarship fund, which has provided scholarships to help at least one MCCN student over each of the past three years.

The relationship with Mount Carmel began much earlier than the establishment of the scholarship. Twenty years of Michael’s battle with heart disease found John and Michael in Mount Carmel hospitals for care and treatment countless times. Bypass surgery, stents, fluid drainage, and other interventions became almost routine. Visits to Mount Carmel West (MCW) and Mount Carmel East (MCE) were commonplace in Michael’s later years.

“He was always impressed with the nurses at Mount Carmel,” said Matchett. “He knew they both cared for him and about him. He was sort of a ‘frequent flyer’ so the nurses really got to know him. During one hospital stay, in the coronary care unit at MCE, which at the time had nine beds, I asked him if he realized he’d been in at least half of the beds at one time or another!”

“We loved to travel and he’d obviously shared that with his nurses at one point, Matchett added. “One of the nurses would draw pictures of palm trees and tropical settings on cards with messages of encouragement. It really cheered him, gave him something to look forward to, and demonstrated that they cared about him as a person, not simply as a patient.”

Travel was important to both John and Michael. They took trips to Hawaii, even staying there for the entire month of January in some years. They also travelled to Europe and the Caribbean. Las Vegas also was a favorite destination for Michael.

Toward the end of Michael’s life, when travel was a bit more difficult, he and John had deep conversations about life, focusing mostly on the positive aspects of their experiences. “Michael was successful in his life and career, having worked at Battelle and risen through the ranks there. He confided in me that his greatest regret in life was not getting a college degree,” said Matchett.

Up until that point, John had no idea that earning a degree was an unfulfilled desire for Michael, who came from a large family and lacked the financial resources to pay for college earlier in his life. “At the time of his death, I really needed to do something. Michael was a good person. He really made the world a better place by being here. He would want to help students by taking some of the edge off money needed for school.”

Combining gratitude for the excellent care from Mount Carmel with a desire to help students pay for college made funding a scholarship for MCCN students made for a perfect way to honor Michael’s life.

“I have the opportunity to meet the students who have benefitted from Michael’s scholarship at the annual Scholarship Dinner and Donor Recognition Dinner,” said Matchett. “In 2022, the student who received our scholarship told me he intended to be a coronary care nurse. And I thought to myself, he is going to be one of the people who would have cared for Michael. It was a full circle moment.”

Talking to the students, who each personally expressed their gratitude for their scholarships reinforced to Matchett that MCCN students work hard, really want to be good nurses, and many need financial help to make their dreams come true. Matchett said, “These scholarships are helping kids who really need it. I believe Michael would be proud to help them achieve one of the things he wanted most in life – a college education.”

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scholarship money awarded from the Mount Carmel Foundation in 2023


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