Turner Establishes New Clinical Health Sciences Scholarship at MECC

Wiley Turner gift

MECC RN Instructor Deborah Wright, Wiley Turner, and Dean of Health Science Kim Dorton

Big Stone Gap – Wiley A. “Ike” Turner was so inspired by a relative’s personal struggles and triumphs in obtaining her Registered Nursing degree at Mountain Empire Community College that he decided to make a difference for future clinical healthcare students attending MECC.

Turner, of Castlewood, recently donated $50,000 to establish a scholarship fund honoring 2018 MECC Graduate Kara Kennedy along with his late wife, Dr. Lorraine C. Turner, the former Superintendent of the Russell County School System.

The Kara Kennedy/Dr. Lorraine C. Turner Endowed Scholarship will benefit students enrolled in clinical health science programs at Mountain Empire Community College. Turner said he wanted to do something that would assist students who will eventually go to work caring for the residents of this region. “The Lord has blessed me and I just want to pass it forward,” said Turner.

Turner’s cousin, Kara Kennedy, was a student in MECC’s Registered Nursing Program, when she was seriously injured in a hiking accident. Although Kennedy lost her leg, she recuperated and re-enrolled in the nursing program. Through the support of her family and friends, along with MECC students and staff, she graduated with her Registered Nursing degree in May 2018. Kennedy was one of two featured student speakers at the graduation ceremony. She currently works as an emergency room nurse at Norton Community Hospital.

Turner’s wife, Lorraine C. Turner, served as the Superintendent of Russell County Schools. She devoted her entire professional career to the Russell County School System as a teacher, supervisor and
superintendent. She worked tirelessly to promote the Special Olympics and expand educational opportunities for children and young adults in Southwest Virginia. Her love of teaching, faithfulness to God, and compassion for others was apparent in her church involvement and dedication to improving her community. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Clinch Valley College, a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Appalachian State University, and a Doctorate of Education from East Tennessee State University.

“We are grateful for Mr. Turner’s generosity and for his extraordinary commitment to our students and the community. The Kara Kennedy/Dr. Lorraine C. Turner Endowed Scholarship will benefit generations to come who will enter health care careers in Southwest Virginia, touching thousands of lives with their skills,” said MECC President Dr. Kristen Westover.

MECC’s offers a variety of clinical health science programs, including registered nursing, licensed practical nursing, respiratory therapy, emergency medical technician, physical therapy assistant, occupational therapy assistant, phlebotomy, radiography, and more. The college offers a state-of-the-art health care simulation laboratory, allowing clinical health science students to train for real-world situations in a controlled learning environment.

The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation supports the mission of Mountain Empire Community College by providing scholarships and funding for student success programs, professional development for faculty, and cultural programs for the community.

For more information regarding scholarships or to establish a scholarship, please contact the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation at 276.523.7466 or visit www.meccfoundation.org.





MECC Foundation Raises More Than $50,000 during Scott County Endowed Scholarship Event

Hiltons, VA – The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation recently raised more than $50,000 at a special event to assist Scott County students attending MECC.

The Scott County Endowed Scholarship Event was held Saturday, August 25, at Crooked River Farm in Hiltons, Va. The event featured Grammy nominated bluegrass artists Blue Highway, with catering provided by North Fork Catering in Weber City. A silent auction was also held.

Major sponsors for the event included David & Annette Templeton, owners of Crooked River Farm, and Courtesy Chevrolet. Additional sponsors include Mark & Judy Musick, Humphreys Enterprises, Campus Drive-In, Jack & Martha Rhoton, New Peoples Bank, R-Mac Realty, Eastman Credit Union, Powell Valley National Bank, Komatsu, Scott County Telephone Cooperative, the Town of Nickelsville, Thermocopy, Otis Rhoton & Food City.

Silent auction items were provided by Belk, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bruno Bikes, David J. Clapp Photography, Made by Hands Floral, Meadowview Conference, Resort & Convention Center, Paul Mitchell Systems, Roberts & Jones, Jennifer Fletcher Meade & Danny Meade, TempurPedic and Quillin Hardware.

During the event, MECC Foundation Board Member and Scott County native Mark Musick announced a major gift to the college. Joyce Tallman, 91 of Atlanta, served as assistant to the president at the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta for more than 30 years of her 50 years with the organization. She was born in Knoxville and was a former employee of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She was the longest serving member of the SREB staff.

Ms. Tallman named the MECC Foundation as a recipient of a $25,000 matching gift as part of the Joyce Cutshaw Tallman Trust. She passed away on Saturday, September 1.

“It’s inspiring to me that a person that has never been on the campus or in the community wants to help this region’s residents receive an education. She was quite a person,” said Musick, a longtime friend and co-worker of Ms. Tallman.

Amy Greear, MECC Vice President for Institutional Advancement at MECC and Executive Director of the MECC Foundation, stated that the August 25 event doubled the amount held in the Scott County Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“We are incredibly grateful that so many rallied around this cause,” said Greear. “This scholarship will benefit Scott County students now and in the years to come. Our single purpose is to remove any financial barrier for a student to attend MECC. We want all students to be able to reach their career and educational goals in order to live and work in our region. We are closer to doing that now thanks to the generosity of this community.”

For more information on the Scott County Endowed Scholarship or to donate to this fund, call the MECC Foundation office at 276.523.7480 or visit www.meccfoundation.org.