16 Jan 2024

Meet Cory Kowalczyk, Winner of the 2023 Scholarship for Emergency Responders and Their Families

Posted By Darrigo & Diaz

Darrigo & Diaz 2023 Scholarship for Emergency Responders and Their Families


Darrigo & Diaz Attorneys at Law is pleased to introduce Cory Kowalczyk as the 2023 Winner of our Annual Scholarship for Emergency Responders and Their Families.

Since 1999, the personal injury attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz have worked tirelessly to protect the rights of Tampa community members; those who fall victim to serious injuries in auto and trucking accidents, slip and falls, and wrongful death cases. Each day, we see firsthand the phenomenal acts of courage, compassion, and competence exhibited by emergency responders. We are honored to contribute to their educational path and will be awarding an annual $1,000 scholarship to an emergency responder or medical professional student.


Cory Kowalczyk is a full-time nursing student and part-time firefighter and paramedic who is pursuing a career as a physician assistant in emergency medicine. Since graduating high school, Cory has been a first responder with his local fire departments in California and Ohio. Inspired by his father who has been a paramedic for over 25 years, Cory is passionate about helping others and giving back to his community.

“Having many years of first responder experience has made me a better person and I always strive to help out my community as best as I can. I always have room to grow, to learn more about people in general and ways to provide better care.”

In early 2023, Cory decided to advance his firefighter and paramedic career by attending nursing school. He moved from California to Ohio, where he attended Eastern Gateway Community College. For Cory, the move wasn’t easy, as he had to leave his wife in California. But for him, the opportunity to extend his first responder skills from the field to the hospital and provide life-saving care to help more people was too great to pass up.

“My wife is currently back in California while I complete my schooling for nursing. This was a difficult choice for us, but she saw how much I enjoy the medical field and how I always try my best to be the best caregiver possible.”

When describing his motivation to become a medical care provider, Cory remembers the time he provided life-saving assistance to his late grandmother. Using his paramedic training, Cory was able to help his grandmother during a critical medical emergency. Today, this memory stays with him as he completes nursing school, hoping to make his grandmother proud as he strives to help more people in their time of need.

“I was really glad I could be there for her at her time of need and provide the best paramedic care to my abilities. I am hoping to make her proud by continuing my education in healthcare.”

Perhaps one of the most commendable elements of Cory’s story is the fact he is completing nursing school while working part-time at two fire departments and a private ambulance company. He emphasizes the difficulty of balancing a full-time academic schedule with the necessity of having to work to financially support his schooling.

“This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in life by providing less stress for myself worrying about the funds for college and being able to focus more on studying. The funds that are offered will allow more time at home to focus on the tasks at hand instead of having to work four to five extra shifts at the fire department.”

Cory will complete the nursing program at Kent State University and plans to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a licensed nurse when he moves back to California with his wife. He then aspires to work in the emergency department of a local hospital while still serving as a part-time paramedic and a volunteer firefighter. Selfless, hardworking, and committed to making a difference in his community, Cory embodies the true essence of what it means to be a first responder.

From everyone at Darrigo & Diaz, we want to congratulate Cory Kowalczyk on his selection as the 2023 recipient of our Annual Scholarship for Emergency Responders and Their Families. We applaud his efforts and dedication to positively impact the safety and health of his community. Each year we award this scholarship because we recognize the importance of emergency responders and how their actions, talents, and presence can make a literal life and death difference. As Cory continues to take his career to the next level, he is an inspiration to all of us to serve others and serve our community.

Darrigo & Diaz Scholarship for Emergency Responders and Their Families

The Darrigo & Diaz Scholarship for Emergency Responders and Their Families is just a part of our effort to recognize these heroes in our community by providing financial assistance to emergency responders and their family members to further their education and therefore further their career — or take the first step toward a new one.

Learn more about the Darrigo & Diaz scholarship and how to apply here.

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