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Scholarship to honor Medway man

Milford Daily News

Julie Balise, January 3, 2011

A new scholarship will help keep alive the memory of John Powers, who died two years ago from food poisoning.

The Seattle-based law firm Marler Clark is donating $5,000 to the Powers Family-Marler Clark scholarship, which will benefit Medway High School graduates who study science in college. The scholarship will be offered in $1,000 increments.

Powers, a 1939 graduate of Medway High and a World War II veteran, died from a listeriosis infection after drinking contaminated milk.

Marler Clark, which represents victims of foodborne illness, worked on behalf of Powers in 2009.

The scholarship aims at increasing interest in science, which, in turn, could improve food safety, said David Babcock, an attorney at Marler Clark.

"We do a lot of safety work and we certainly represent individuals that are sick," Babcock said. "But we put a lot of effort into actually trying to have less work and have people make advances in food safety."

Listeria is not as common as other foodborne bacteria, Babcock said, but can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women and the elderly.

Powers was 88 when he suffered the infection.

His wife, Regina, said it was "kind of surprising" that Bill Marler, managing partner of the law firm, wanted to establish a scholarship in her husband's memory.

"I really had nothing to do with it," she said. "It was very nice of him to do this on his own."

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