The TCMH Healthcare Foundation presented ,000 scholarship checks to Holly Pittman and Gina Ross this week. Pictured are, from left: board members, Maggie Ogden and Jim Bukowsky; Pittman; Ross; Jay Gentry, foundation director; Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer; and Jared Pyatt, foundation board member. (File photo)

The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation has awarded a pair of $1,000 scholarships to area students to assist with their educational costs for the 2010 spring school semester.

Holly Pittman of Bucyrus and Gina Ross of Eunice were the recipients chosen by the foundation board of directors from several applications received.

Pittman is in the nursing program at Missouri State University in West Plains, where she is pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing. Pittman is also a nurse’s aide in the TCMH medical surgical department.

Ross is in the RN-bridge program at Texas County Technical College in Houston. She is currently a licensed practical nurse for TCMH in the medical surgical department.

Pittman will complete her nursing program in May, and Ross will complete her nursing program in December.

“Educational scholarships are one of the focus areas of the TCMH Healthcare Foundation,” said Jay Gentry, foundation director.

Initially in 2006, the foundation held a golf tournament with educational scholarships as the specific focus of the tournament.

“We had another successful golf tournament in 2009 where over $18, 500 was raised,” explained Gentry, who said planning is under way for the 2010 scholarship fund-raiser tournament.

According to Gentry, the foundation intends to award two more $1,000 scholarships before the fall school semester in 2010. Applications for the scholarships are available through the foundation or on the TCMH Web site.

“As the foundation’s funds grow, the foundation’s board members plan to award larger scholarships,” Gentry said.

The foundation is working with a family to create an endowed scholarship fund.

The foundation scholarships are designated toward students pursuing education in the field of healthcare and residing in the TCMH service area, which encompasses all of Texas County and parts of surrounding counties.

“The foundation board of directors recognizes the growing need for healthcare providers in rural America,” Gentry stated. “It is the hope of the foundation that these scholarships will assist in attracting and retaining qualified residents to work in the local healthcare fields.”

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