Scholarship named after youngest Mich. COVID-19 victim supports first responder families

The Skylar Herbert Memorial Scholarship, a need-based scholarship for children of first responders, is named after the 5-year-old daughter of a Detroit firefighter and cop


Mark Kurlyandchik
Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — One of the state's youngest victims of COVID-19, Skylar Herbert now has a scholarship named for her at the University of Michigan.

The Skylar Herbert Memorial Scholarship at U-M is a need-based scholarship for children of first responders — like its namesake — and preference is given to those who work in Detroit, according to a university publication.

Detroit Police Department Officer LaVondria Herbert and her husband Detroit Firefighter Ebbie Herbert speak with the press after watching a half-mile procession of police, fire and EMS vehicles along Outer Drive in Detroit on April 24, 2020, showing support for the parents who lost their 5-year-old daughter Skylar Herbert to COVID-19. The University of Michigan has debuted the Skylar Herbert Memorial Scholarship which will support the children of first responders.
Detroit Police Department Officer LaVondria Herbert and her husband Detroit Firefighter Ebbie Herbert speak with the press after watching a half-mile procession of police, fire and EMS vehicles along Outer Drive in Detroit on April 24, 2020, showing support for the parents who lost their 5-year-old daughter Skylar Herbert to COVID-19. The University of Michigan has debuted the Skylar Herbert Memorial Scholarship which will support the children of first responders. (Photo/Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)

The story of Herbert's tragic battle with the novel coronavirus in the spring and the memorial scholarship that alum Bruce Hiler was inspired to set up after her death are detailed in the fall 2020 issue of Leaders & Best, a quarterly magazine highlighting various philanthropic efforts at U-M.

“We had been so frustrated by the impact of this virus and had been looking for ways to help fight it, especially seeing how hard it was hitting Michigan, where I grew up,” Hiler told L&B. “And then when I read about Skylar, and her parents risking their lives every day during this pandemic, I knew I wanted to do something to honor their efforts and their beautiful little girl."

Five-year-old Herbert developed a rare form of meningitis and brain swelling after testing positive for COVID-19 in March. The daughter of a Detroit police officer and firefighter, she became Michigan's youngest casualty of the pandemic, garnering national attention for her tragic death at such a young age to a virus that disproportionately affects the elderly.

“When we heard a couple had created a scholarship in our daughter’s name, we were absolutely amazed,” LaVondria Herbert told L&B. “I always knew that people were going to know her name one day. Now with this scholarship, Skylar’s name will always be remembered.”

Members of the public can also support the Skylar Herbert Memorial Fund at U-M by donating here.

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(c)2020 the Detroit Free Press

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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