Since graduating, Bernie Nevel, OD '55 has been a selfless and generous contributor to ICO, but the Bernie Nevel Scholarship Fund must be particularly special to him because it was not his idea.
"I and everyone who loves him want to honor him," said Kevin Danahey, OD ’91. "This scholarship is a tribute to how he has advanced the lives of so many doctors and the lasting impact he has had on so many patients."
"Bernie has always shown such kindness and compassion to everyone he cares for. His true gift is his ability to recognize the potential in others. There are so many graduates who have walked through the doors of ICO because of his encouragement and belief in them," said Dr. Danahey. "He has an incredible ability to help others through his wisdom and humility, and I'm not the only one who has benefitted from his mentorship."
Dr. Danahey was determined to endow the scholarship but raising enough funds to endow it required a joint effort. Dr. Danahey, Dr. Nevel's children, Nancy and Adam, his son-in-law, Dale, and Dr. Nevel's wife, Eta, "were all reaching out to friends and to patients who love Bernie. We had so many people contribute. It’s such a great way to show what an impact one person can have."
"Bernie has always loved ICO, and I think its one of his greatest attributes," said Dr. Danahey. It was Dr. Nevel's vision that led to Michiana Eye Center, LLC, an equally owned-OD/MD practice, to become an externship site for ICO. "Bernie was so instrumental in making this happen. As an OD/MD practice, our practice is very medically oriented. This model provides so much value to the students, but also to the doctors."
It was also through Dr. Nevel's encouragement that Dr. Danahey chose to give back. "I don't think I would have personally reconnected to ICO if weren't for Bernie." Dr. Danahey now serves on ICO's development committee, and continues to maintain a very strong relationship with ICO. "All of this is because of Bernie."
"Every successful optometrist can say they are where they are today because someone believed in them along the way. For me, that was Bernie." This scholarship allowed Dr. Danahey and Dr. Nevel's family to not only thank Dr. Nevel for the great legacy he leaves behind, but also to open up the door for all those who have interacted with Dr. Nevel. In this way, we can all thank him for the good that he does.
"I know I am not the only one who is a better person and a better optometrist because of the people they have had around them. So for other optometrists out there, if there is someone who inspired you, this might be an option for you too. You are supporting the future of our profession and at the same time, honoring those people who got you to where you are today."
"To this very day, he has touched so many lives in so many meaningful ways. I'm so happy we got to honor him in this way."