Wyoming parents of daughter honored in scholarship seek applications | TSLN.com

Wyoming parents of daughter honored in scholarship seek applications

Parents who established a scholarship to honor their daughter after her sudden death from bacterial meningitis want students to be aware they can apply for the Wyoming Homemakers Association award established in her name.

Erin Reed was a freshman interested in art at Casper College when she became ill with flu-like symptoms on a Sunday in March 2004. She died that Tuesday.

"We miss her and always will," said her mother, Beverly.

She and husband, Tom, wished to let other students know of the dangers of bacterial meningitis. Erin loved drawing, art and animals, especially golden retrievers. The parents made a limited number of prints from her artwork to sell to help offset costs of informing parents and students about the disease.

"As the knowledge of bacterial meningitis increased and the need for funding decreased, we wanted another avenue for her prints, and we wanted to be able to help students with college expenses," said Beverly.

The scholarship is $500 or an amount according to funds available. Beverly was and is a member of the Wyoming Homemakers, whose members each year hold silent auctions or donate money to fund the scholarship. The Reeds donate prints to silent auctions to help contribute to the scholarship. The first scholarship was awarded in 2005.

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"Erin was always interested in attending college and helping with our volunteer organization," said Beverly. "We thought a scholarship was the appropriate avenue to honor her memory."

The Homemakers promote continuing education. "Our goals reflect home, family and education," said Beverly. "We encourage all forms of learning and exchange of knowledge and ideas through our local, county and state organization."

The first scholarship recipient was a close friend of Erin's – Erin Smith of Niobrara County. Erin Reed met Erin Smith while in 4-H.

"They were friends almost immediately," said Beverly. "Even though not being from the same county, they maintained the friendship through the years. It made the presentation of the scholarship very special."

Erin Smith is now a consumer health specialist with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

Recipients are selected, in descending order, on scholarship, financial need, leadership, citizenship and community involvement. Beverly said the system is meant to give money to an outstanding and financially challenged student.

"We believe in education for everyone and hope this scholarship benefits continuing education for students in all walks of life," she said.

Applications are available at each Wyoming community college and the University of Wyoming financial aid office. They are also available at most University of Wyoming Extension county offices.

–University of Wyoming