The death of a friend’s husband, killed while serving in the military, is part of the inspiration behind a new scholarship in Williston.
Tie Lemerond, a freelance writer living in Williston, has begun the Zoe Hart Scholarship Fund to help children who have lost one or both parents while very young to someday fulfill their higher education goals.
The fund is named after Lemerond’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoe Hart, who lost her mother when she was 2. But the initial inspiration were two different friends of Lemerond, who lost a spouse and had very young children to raise.
“I’ve seen firsthand the struggles these families have went through both financially and emotionally,” Lemerond said.
The Washington mother whose husband was killed while serving in the military did receive some financial assistance, Lemerond said, but it was never enough to support three children and put them through college.
The second friend, a mother who passed away due to breast cancer, had three boys in elementary school. That left their father to raise all three on his own.
“I have been exposed to this multiple times,” she said. “It’s just such a struggle for them, so I thought this would be a great fund to help out such families with children at that age level.”
A couple of companies in Williston have already decided to contribute funding to the fund, 501©3 non-profit status been obtained, Lemerond said.
An account is available at Gate City Bank in Williston to collect funds for the scholarship.
Additional contributions would expand the reach of the program, Lemerond said, and allow it to provide more scholarships in the future.
“When creating the scholarship fund, my overall goals have been to 1) Bring awareness to the needs of families who have experienced this life changing tragedy 2) Assist both the student and their parents in ensuring these young people are able to get the higher education they need and desire without putting more financial burden on them and 3) Helping to make an impact and growing this Nonprofit organization, the ‘Zoe Hart Scholarship Fund,’ so that we are able to help even more graduating seniors in future years to come.”
Lemerond said many people have helped her get the scholarship fund going.
“I want to thank Gate City Bank for assisting in setting up the account to hold the funds and also to express my sincerest thank you to those who have made contributions and to the ones who are considering making a contribution,” she said. “Your support is greatly appreciated and together we can make a great impact on the the lives of families who have struggled so much. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.”