Remembering one’s origins is what the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation Scholarship is all about, and Phyllis Harris understood that.
“I’m exactly the person that we’re looking for,” said Harris, who serves on the scholarship committee as a member of the foundation board.
“I grew up here. I worked here as a CNA [Certified Nursing Assistant]. I went to college and [Physician Assistant] school in Winston-Salem, but I came back here to practice and I practiced here full-time for 12 years,” explained Harris, “and so I’m the person we’re looking for and so I think I can help them find them through those applications.”
The foundation’s scholarship is designed to provide funding for medical school so that students can be educated and then return to their hometown to practice.
The applications have thoroughly represented the service area, according the Scholarship Committee Chair Tony Cook.
“It’s scattered through Allegheny, Ashe, Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin, even into Virginia. We’ve got a good range of the whole area that we service and that was good,” said Cook. “I was looking forward to that and seeing if we would do that, and we did.”
Cook said he had anticipated having a significant number of applications but was surprised at the high volume.
“I was hoping to come in here and say that we were knee deep in the scholarship program,” said Cook. “I think we’re neck deep.”
The applications are under review by the scholarship committee.
“If you could just see what they’re doing and how well they’re doing it, you would really appreciate the efforts they’re putting into it,” said foundation Chair Dr. Bill Davis, “and you would also be surprised to see how objectively they are addressing each of the 71 scholarship applications that have been submitted.”
“We’re trying to be very fair with it and use just the facts and no opinions,” said Cook. “It’s going extremely well, I feel it’s just going to be a lot of work between now and May 15 to be ready to award this to high school students on award night.
“I can’t thank the committee enough for what they’ve done so far,” said Cook. “I’ve had extremely good help and that’s going to be the success of this scholarship is to have the right people in the right place and we’ve got the right [committee members] and the right support system.”
Davis agreed, stating that leadership was also important to the strength of the scholarship program.
“I’m not talking about myself by any means,” said Davis. “I’m talking about our treasurer, Don [Hudson]. I’m talking about another board member, Phyllis, and her husband who is a trustee here, Phil. Both of these have made a pledge.”
Davis announced the Harris family pledged Harris Leather and Silverworks to become the second company to participate in the Five for $5,000 for Five program.
Davis and the board hope to find five participants who will pledge to give $5000 to the scholarship program for five years.
“People who have worked here and retire from here,” said Phyllis Harris, “they should want to give back. If you’ve been here and done this, you should want to contribute so there will be others just like you who will come along and do the same thing. That’s what I do. Keep this going because we do have a great hospital.”
“It’s real important to recruit local scholarship applicants,” said Phil Harris, “so that they have the opportunity to work and stay here in Elkin. We feel like we’re helping continue our hospital in the future by helping nurses and perspective physicians.
“We are ardent supporters of Hugh Chatham and love this hospital and what it means to our community.”
For more information on how to participate in the Five for $5,000 for Five program or to make a donation to the scholarship program, call the Hugh Chatham Memorial Foundation office at 336-527-7457
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.