UNH Honors Two New Hampshire
Residents At 2005 Commencement
Contact: Denise Hart
UNH Media Relations
May 9, 2005
DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire
will honor two New Hampshire residents for outstanding community
Granite State Awards that will be presented Saturday, May 21, 2005,
David M. Krempels, president of The Krempels Brain Injury Foundation,
and the Honorable Katherine Wells Wheeler, former New Hampshire
State Senator, are the recipients of the annual awards.
Krempels graduated from UNH in 1973 and went on to become a successful
carpenter and businessman as part-owner of a Seacoast contracting
business. In his early forties, on the second day of his honeymoon
in 1992, a tractor-trailer crashed into their car while traveling
on the Maine Turnpike, killing his wife Ettamae and leaving Krempels
comatose with injuries. He survived and over the next two years
began to reclaim his life—learning how to walk, eat and
perform tasks of daily living as he healed from traumatic brain
injury and slowly regaining his independence.
Ten years ago, Krempels founded the Krempels Brain Injury Foundation
with the help of four friends, establishing a nonprofit organization
that has touched the lives of hundreds of New Hampshire residents
living with brain injury from trauma, tumor or stroke. The foundation
has awarded nearly 600 grants totaling more than $850,000, providing
a bridge of essential financial assistance at a critical time,
and offers the Steppingstones, a community-based post-rehabilitative
program in Portsmouth, where participants have access to life-skills
training, support groups, social and recreational activities
to help them rebuild their lives.
The Honorable Katherine Wells Wheeler is a former New Hampshire
state senator and founding member as well as past president of
the New Hampshire Public Health Association. She currently serves
with the NARAL Pro-Choice NH Foundation.
Wheeler’s distinguished public service career began with
advocacy for New Hampshire Public Television, chairing the station’s
first fund-raising auction, serving as vice-president of the NHPTV
Broadcasting Council and founding member of the NHPTV Board of
Governors. Her work on behalf of NHPTV resulted in the New Hampshire
Union Leader naming her “Woman of the Year” in 1984.
Following her election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives
in 1988, she focused her attention on improving access to health
care, services to
seniors, children, people with disabilities and low-income families, and
safeguarding reproductive rights. She served four terms in the House before
being elected to the Senate for three terms, where she represented residents
of Dover, Durham, Lee, Madbury and Rollinsford. Among the bills she sponsored
were a bill offering protection to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault
and stalking and legislation that banned the practice of hazing on all school
and university campuses. Her contributions to the well-being of New Hampshire
residents have brought her recognition from many community groups including
the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, the New Hampshire Family Planning Council,
Homemakers of Strafford County, the New Hampshire Nurses’ Association
and the New Hampshire Pediatric Society among many others.
Commencement begins at 10 a.m. at Cowell Stadium Field, rain
or shine, on UNH’s Durham campus.