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.