Meet the Winners of 2022’s CoverMyQuest Employee Grant Contest
Meet the winners of CoverMyMeds’ annual employee contest, CoverMyQuest 2022. CoverMyQuest 2022 was our biggest yet, with 30 total winners including five People's Choice Awards recipients. Learn what drives them to dream big and make a difference — and what they plan to do with their $5,000 grants.
What’s your “why”?
It’s a big question and everyone has their answer. It’s what makes each of us unique, and it’s why individuality is one of our employee pillars at CoverMyMeds.
Each year, we launch CoverMyQuest, an annual initiative that awards employees with mini grants of $5,000 to pursue passions, new adventures, bucket-list achievements and so much more.
This year, ambition was a recurring theme among our winners. Our employees are asking themselves, “Why not now?” They’re thinking about what matters most — and what they want to accomplish and experience with those closest to them.
We spoke with each of our 2022 winners and learned what (and who) inspired their quests — and what they want to do with their grants.
Editor: A few employees who received grants were unavailable for comment prior to publication: Dante Lovell, Jacque Willis, George Merritt, Todd Bird, Emilia Morales and Kelly McCarthy.
Brittany Kyser: Visit baseball stadiums with my son
I want to visit as many Major League Baseball stadiums as possible with my 12-year-old son.
This 'Quest is so important to me because baseball is such a big part of our lives and has provided many lessons and memories through the years.
We've met so many great people through baseball. My son has been lucky to have great coaches and mentors help him succeed. He also looks up to so many professional athletes, so being able to see his favorite players in life helps put things into perspective. Hard work pays off!
Norma Romero: Honor my mother with a trip to Disneyland
My mother passed away in February 2021 at the age of 52 from COVID-19 complications.
She was the glue of our family and helped me with my children as much as she could. The kids miss their Nana dearly, and I want to bring some joy back into their lives with a trip to a magical place: Disneyland.
Taking this Disneyland trip and witnessing my children's excitement and happiness will help me stay motivated and focused to keep working hard.
So I can continue to provide a great life for them — and continue to instill in them the importance of family and keeping traditions alive for generations to come.
Andrew Seastone: Make a difference for those with Down Syndrome
My 'Quest is to secure funding for an organization called BuddyUp for Life, providing 10-plus scholarships to new and existing athletes. BuddyUp for Life offers a variety of classes, like fitness, tennis and life skills to individuals with Down Syndrome.
My involvement with BuddyUp for Life has brought me a great deal of fulfillment and I feel blessed that CoverMyMeds has allowed me the opportunity to give back to the organization.
Erik Conley: A quest to discover my true self
I discovered I was transgender when I was about 13 years old. Now, because of the CoverMyQuest grant, I’m finally able to pursue a legal name and gender marker change and fund my gender affirmation surgery.
I’ve dealt with debilitating gender dysphoria for the majority of my life, I can’t wait to finally experience life as my true self, in a body I feel comfortable in. I also plan to give back to the LGBTQ+ community by donating the remaining funds to queer families in need.
Gina Franklin: A vacation for my best friend and biggest supporter
My 'Quest is to take my best friend of 48 years on a fabulous vacation. She’s suffered a lot of loss in the past 10 years, and I want her to have a relaxing, wonderful vacation.
My mom was a single mother, and my friend’s family brought me along to many events, family outings, reunions and so much more. Because of them, I had the opportunity to experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.
Some of the best terrain in Colorado is only accessible via helicopter … I’m thrilled to take my brother on this adventure.Chris Parker, CoverMyQuest 2022 winner
Chris Parker: A once-in-a-lifetime trip for me and my brother
I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life and spent many winter Saturdays snowboarding with family and friends. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the dream of taking this passion to the next level and going heli-snowboarding in the Colorado wilderness.
Some of the best terrain in Colorado is only accessible via helicopter, and after being selected for this year’s CoverMyQuest, I’m thrilled to be able to take my brother and two of our close friends on this adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Wendi Rogers: For my husband, and to achieve a sense of peace
My 'Quest is to go on a family cruise in memory of my late husband, Darrell. Going on this cruise is a dream we had together, but we ran out of time.
To be in the middle of the ocean with the sky and water all around could help me feel a sense of peace. I think by fulfilling our dream cruise in his honor and memory, I can also learn to live again.
Jacob Taylor: To discover and connect with my family’s heritage
My CoverMyQuest opportunity will enable me to take my wife and daughter to the Philippines for a cultural discovery experience of their heritage.
As parents, this will enable me and my wife to reinforce the importance of global citizenship and international diversity.
As a husband, this will allow me to better connect and understand my wife’s heritage and family traditions.
As a father, it will allow me to understand and provide cultural depth and support to my daughter, allowing her to confidently embrace the heritage her mother and I proudly represent, and to connect to her Filipino-American roots.
Tien Phan: Give back to my selfless and supportive parents
Since my parents migrated to the United States, they’ve dedicated their lives to their kids’ upbringing.
So, you can imagine how elated and overjoyed I am to be able to present them with a gift for all their sacrifices. I’m absolutely humbled and thankful CoverMyMeds is awarding me this opportunity to help them.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been my dad’s dream to play golf at Pebble Beach.Eric Williamson, CoverMyQuest 2022 winner
Eric Williamson: An unforgettable round of golf at Pebble Beach
I remember when my dad’s hand started shaking, and how shocking it was for him to be diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease.
Luckily, about seven years later, he underwent two separate brain surgeries to help manage his symptoms. Two devices were implanted to supply the necessary dopamine to help control his shaking.
As of today, he still shakes a little bit, but he’s able to work, play golf and spend time with our family.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been my dad’s dream to play golf at Pebble Beach. This has been an avenue to connect us despite these challenges and will be a memory of a lifetime while things are still stable!
Justin Dickson: Pursue my musical passions in a new space
My 'Quest is to renovate my basement and turn it into a music studio and rehearsal space.
Performing and teaching music in Columbus has been a pillar in my life for a long time and being selected as a winner is going to completely change the course of what I’m able to do with the space I’m creating.
It’s a life-altering amount of money and I'm excited for what’s next!
My hope is to have a community space long-term where I can teach, record, rehearse and continue to collaborate and grow as an artist.
Andy Ly: To shine a light on my inspirational daughter’s journey
My daughter was born two months premature, weighing just 2.5 pounds. She spent 40 days and nights in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Ann’s Hospital, mostly in an incubation chamber.
She’s 5 now and thankfully doesn’t have any major medical issues except for her physical stature (she’s in the lowest 10th percentile for her age).
My 'Quest is to write a children’s book about my daughter growing up. She’s told by many she’s too small (which I’m guilty of as well) and yet, she’s found ways to surprise us.
I also hope her story will inspire children to push themselves despite grown-ups telling them they're too small to accomplish their goals.
Jill Scott: Live out a lifelong dream with my best friend
My 'Quest is to fulfill a 30-plus-year dream of building Good of All Apothecary alongside my best friend, Stephanie.
Winning this quest was so important because it allows us to purchase a greenhouse to harvest year-round plants and herbs.
By having our own greenhouse, our signature lavender can be harvested throughout the year to keep our customers happy with readily available products, such as our lavender nettle salve.
Thank you for helping two “hippie chicks” begin their new quest together.
Jamie Kraig: Connect with our roots and family legacy
My grandmother fled her home in Poland because of the Nazi campaign against the Polish at the end of the Holocaust.
She was placed in a displaced persons work camp in Germany with her mother, but without her father. She spent almost seven years there before they received sponsorship to come to America.
My grandma knows very little about her family and the home she left behind since she has never returned to Europe.
My 'Quest is to take my grandmother back to see Poland and Germany to learn more about the time she spent there, the family they left behind and develop a deeper connection with our roots.
Debra Randels: A deserved renovation of my parents’ bedroom
I want to give back to my parents and renovate their bedroom with new carpet, paint and furniture. It’s currently a time capsule from 1986 and they deserve an upgrade.
Extra money for renovations is hard to come by, and they recently suffered hurricane damage to their roof, as well. My dad worked hard his entire life to provide for our family and although my mom worked when times were really tough, she was primarily a stay-at-home parent.
I want to help them out by providing a safe and comfortable home.
Amanda Haas: A chance to paddle board with my family
My 'Quest is to purchase a motorized fin that attaches to paddle boards.
Our family has always been active in water recreation, and in 2019, I was introduced to paddle boarding and loved it. However, my right arm is paralyzed from a car accident that happened in 1993, which makes using a paddle board challenging for me.
I've never allowed this disability to stop me from doing anything, but paddle boarding generally requires the use of both arms.
This motorized fin will allow me the freedom to move across the water without any strain on my arm and help spend time with my family on the water, seeing everything they do.
Up-front costs for (taking my musical act on tour) are extremely high, which is why it hasn’t yet come to fruition.Ryan Francis, CoverMyQuest 2022 winner
Ryan Francis: I’m (finally) going to take my musical act on tour!
My quest is to take my music act (@HugeEugeOfficial on Instagram) on tour! I have been performing comedy hip hop since 2008, and I'm finally ready to hop into a vehicle and perform in major cities throughout the Midwest.
Having been in a band and now performing solo, it's always been a dream to taste what it’s like being a touring musician. Up-front costs for such an endeavor are extremely high, which is why it hasn’t yet come to fruition.
This will give me the ability to continue making connections and sharing my fun message with others who normally couldn’t make it to Columbus to see a performance.
Benjamin Gardea: Fulfill a goal to share my art with the world
When I was going through some of the hardest times of my life, I often wrote my thoughts down. I took solace in getting my words on paper. When I first shared my poetry at a poetry slam event, I was amazed by the local community of writers who share their poems.
I’ve purchased so many books from local published authors, and to be able to publish my poems and share my art with the world is an amazing achievement I never thought possible. In my 'Quest, I’ll be the first person in my family to be a published author!
Heather Rowland: A mother-and-son experience we'll never forget
My 'Quest is to take my son, who was recently discharged from the Navy after serving four years, on a West Coast adventure.
We’re planning to take a two-week road trip along the coast from Seattle to San Diego. The past four years have been a struggle mentally for him, and I’m hoping to reconnect on this trip, as well as encourage him to take a break and let the adventure help heal his soul.
I’d like to introduce him to the quaint towns that dot the coast, take hikes along the ocean and among the forests and make stops at antique stores so he can search for parts of history.
Brandon Sheskey: A daddy-daughter bonding trip, and lifetime memories
We’re going to hit every ride at Disney World in one day! That’s almost 17 miles of walking.
My daughter is eight years old, and I think it’s so important to spend plenty of time together to cement our relationship (before the pull-away that’s coming at adolescence). She'll never forget this adventure!
I’ve also received a ton of support within CoverMyMeds, with many of my female colleagues telling me that some of their best memories were spent with their dad on a special trip.
Editor: Brandon is one of five People’s Choice winners chosen by CoverMyMeds employees
Andre’as Williams: Publish a series of books on overcoming trauma
My earliest memories involve me trying to understand how to survive and navigate through traumatic events.
As an African American male raised by a Caucasian grandmother who was on disability, a mother with autism and a father in prison, I grew up without much guidance and felt my experiences were underrepresented.
The trauma my environment exposed and forced me to overcome made me who I am and is part of my story — but I didn’t see enough stories like mine publicized.
Even knowing others could relate to my stories, I’ve always been hesitant to write them until my grandma passed a year ago.
Her love for the arts has inspired me to share my trauma and life experiences with the intention of encouraging others to express themselves, as well as seek healing from any trauma they’ve faced.
Editor: Andre’as is one of five People’s Choice winners chosen by CoverMyMeds employees
Wendy Henderson: A true connection with my Guatemalan roots
While I’ve known about my sister (Varinia) and brother (Marvin), I’ve never met them. They’ve lived their entire lives in Guatemala.
Growing up as a person of mixed ethnicities, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of partaking in the customs and traditions of my Western European and African American heritages but have longed for ways to connect with my Guatemalan roots.
Over the years, this longing has become more immense and harder to ignore, so I’ve chosen not to any longer!
I’m thrilled to be able to travel to Guatemala via CoverMyQuest to meet my siblings for the first time and place the missing puzzle piece to my ethnic heritage.
Stephanie Parker: Jump-starting a lifelong dream
I’ve been struggling to find the courage to initiate a wild dream of mine. This grant will help jump-start the building of a space where folks can pet corgis, drink Ohio coffee and enjoy craft beers.
This 'Quest is all about learning and building something challenging and satisfying the feeling of fulfilling a purpose.
Winning this grant also helps me feel financially secure enough to start investing in this project.
Editor: Stephanie is one of five People’s Choice winners chosen by CoverMyMeds employees
Margorie Madrid: A memories-filled trip with my daughter
I’m using the money from my 'Quest award to travel the world with our daughter.
We want to be able to create beautiful memories as a family while she’s still able to see. We’re very excited to explore other countries and learn about their cultures and traditions.
I can’t thank CoverMyMeds enough for making our family’s dream come true.
Our daughter will be able to create beautiful family memories that will last a lifetime.
Even if she’s not able to physically see the world, she’ll be able to remember these beautiful experiences and keep them in her heart.
Want to work at CoverMyMeds and apply to a future CoverMyQuest contest? Apply today!