Seniors at Maiden High School in North Carolina will soon be eligible to receive the newly established Bobby Ray Hullett – Marler Clark Memorial Scholarship for the pursuit of higher education in science.

The $2,500 scholarship fund, which will be awarded in $500 increments over five years, was donated in memory of Maiden, NC resident Bobby “Pete” Ray Hullett, who contracted a Salmonella infection and died after eating contaminated peanut butter crackers in 2008.  

“This scholarship is intended to honor the memory of a wonderful husband and father,” said Marler Clark attorney Bill Marler, who represented the Hullett family in a claim against the cracker manufacturers.  “We want to encourage students to consider the sciences in hopes that we can reduce – or one day even eliminate – human illnesses like the Salmonella infection that took Pete’s life.”

Marler continued, “Students who go on to study food science, epidemiology or medicine could one day find themselves at the forefront of the next major foodborne illness outbreak in the U.S., whether they work in the food industry or public health. What we want to do is help put them on the path to make a difference.”

More than 700 people became ill with Salmonella Typhimurium after eating peanuts sold by Peanut Corporation of America in 2008 and 2009.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that Pete Hullett was one of nine people who died as a result of a Salmonella infection during the outbreak.  

Marler Clark, which sponsors Food Safety News, is the nation’s leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illnesses.  So far in 2011, the firm has donated $105,000 to schools in communities affected by foodborne illness.