HAVERHILL — Just around this time last year, Everson Taveras found himself at a crossroads.
He had been a nomad for the last several years, living in three different states and two different countries. When deciding what he wanted the next step of his life to be, he was presented with an intriguing opportunity. His mother was moving to Lawrence and Taveras had a decision to make.
He could continue living in New York and commute to his low-paying job in Stamford, Conn., or he could take a risk and move to Massachusetts, a place he had never been and knew very little about.
Taveras chose the latter.
Just one year later, he has already accomplished more than he could have imagined. Last month he was honored with the Barney Gallagher Journalism Scholarship Award, given to a top journalism student at Northern Essex Community College.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Taveras said about receiving the scholarship. “I never thought that I would be in a position to receive an award like this.”
The scholarship, given annually by The Haverhill Gazette to a Northern Essex student, was renamed in memory of Gallagher, longtime Haverhill Gazette and Eagle-Tribune writer and photographer, after he died earlier this year. The award, which is sponsored by The Eagle-Tribune, is for $750. The amount was increased from $500 to $750 this year by Eagle-Tribune Publisher Al Getler.
“Barney leaves a legacy behind as a true on-the-street reporter,” Getler said at the time of the scholarship name change. “You don’t get great stories sitting at your desk on the phone staring at a screen. The best journalists a
re there in the middle of it all asking why or why not.”
Gallagher covered Haverhill since 1936 as a reporter, photographer, editor and columnist until his health began to fail just over a year ago. He was known for his commitment to the job, never missing a story, even if it was happening at 3 in the morning.