Paying it forward

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Keely Kerns, of Ironton, who is in the licensed practical nursing program at Collins Career Technical Center in Coal Grove, was one of two inaugural recipients of a scholarship from the Nurse Honor Guard of the River on Wednesday. (The Ironton Tribune | Mark Shaffer)

Nurse Honor Guard gives scholarships to student nurses

COAL GROVE — The Nurse Honor Guard of the River Cities was in Coal Grove on Wednesday, not to honor one of their own, but to support two future nurses who are students at the Collins Career Technical Center with scholarships.

In their garb of the traditional white nurse’s uniforms and blue capes with red linings, the nurses entered two classrooms and made the announcement of which student had won a scholarship that went not towards their academics, but things like gasoline or other needs.

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This is the first year that the group has distributed the nursing student awards. The recipients were chosen for their scholastic achievement and for dedicating their professional careers to nursing.

“We decided to do the award because it can be spent on their needs,” said Dorothy Spillman, GLPN, and co-founder of the nurse honor guard. “Scholarships have to be spent on the scholastic part, but in this day and age people have needs because the cost of living is so high. And as you can tell, they were very happy. It is our way of paying it forward.”

The students were not told ahead of time who would be getting the award.

In the first classroom, the scholarship went to Janie Alvarez, of Flatwoods, Kentucky. She is in her first year of the practical nursing program.

“I am surprised,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I figured many people applied and I am a non-traditional student so I wasn’t expecting to get it.”

In the second classroom, the scholarship recipient was Keely Kerns, of Ironton, who is in the licensed practical nursing program.

“I was a little surprised, but I am very passionate about nursing and so, even if I didn’t win, I would just be happy with knowing I tried,” she said.

The Nurse Honor Guard of the River Cities was founded in 2019 with a mission to attend and provide honor services at the funerals of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical around the Tri–State.