When Leslie and Bill Carruth lost their six-year-old daughter, Allie, in a tragic accident two years ago, local and area residents embraced the family with care.
“The community surrounded us when the accident happened, so we are trying to give back to the community,” said Leslie. “And what better place to give than our very own community college?”
Through the Allie Cat Run and Festival, a spring-time event held to honor the memory of the youth, monies were raised to give back to the community. “Allie was an organ donor so the first year the proceeds went to MORA – Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency,” Leslie said.
For this year’s event, $3,500 was given to the Meridian Community College Foundation earmarked for a scholarship and equipment for the College’s Simulation Lab. The lab allows students to gain valuable hands-on experience before caring for patients in a real-world setting.
Specifically, a pediatric crash cart will be purchased for students to get hands-on experience in using the device that is equipped with medicine and other supplies for emergency resuscitations.
Meridian Community College Associate Vice President for Nursing and Health Care Education Dr. Lara Collum said, “We are humbled and honored to be a recipient of the Carruth’s generosity. Their gift will impact many students and is an inspiring example of the good that can come from a tragedy.”
“The MCC Foundation is very proud that we’re helping to support the nursing programs,” said Barbara Jones, vice president for advancement and executive director of the foundation. “This gift will be a big help for them,” she said.
There’s another tie with the Carruths; Bill was a student in the College’s ADN program when the accident happened. “They were so supportive of Bill and saw such potential in him and his end game that they became pretty much his family at the time, too,” Leslie said.
Photo: Meridian Community College officials Barbara Jones, left, vice president for advancement and executive director of the MCC Foundation, Dr. Lara Collum, associate vice president for nursing and health care education, and Dr. Thomas Huebner, right, president, join with Leslie Carruth, third from left, at the gift presentation.