Logansport resident is studying nursing at Ivy Tech
LOGANSPORT, Ind. — Bethany Poyser, a nursing student at Ivy Tech Community College Logansport Campus, has been named the first recipient of the Don Heckard Memorial Scholarship. The award was announced recently at a fundraising cruise on The Madam Carroll on Lake Freeman for donors to the Heckard scholarship fund.
“I am beyond thankful for this opportunity,” Poyser said in a letter to the Heckard family. “Your scholarship contribution means that I can continue to strive and work hard to achieve all of my goals without worrying about placing a large financial burden on our family.”
Poyser said that like many people, her after-high-school-graduation plans were superseded by marriage and family. She and her husband Andrew have three children – Isabella, 7; Nora, 4; and Abram, 2. But despite the time and money challenges that presents, she said, Andrew never stopped encouraging her to pursue her dream to go beyond the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential she earned before marriage and study to become a nurse.
Poyser said that as her 10-year high school reunion approached, “I figured it was now or never!” She decided to attend Ivy Tech and is on track to complete her Associate of Science in Nursing degree next May. Poyser hopes to pursue a career at a pediatric hospital like Riley Hospital for Children or St. Vincent’s Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. “I know either of those will place me in a position to care for and help many struggling families and their sick children, to help make them well and whole again,” she wrote.
The Heckard Scholarship was endowed in 2014 with $10,500 in donations in memory of the lifelong Cass County farmer and businessman who generously supported the development of Ivy Tech in Logansport before his death in 2013 at the age of 88. An additional $6,485 was added to the fund through the 2016 fundraiser. Heckard’s children – Nancy, Stephen, Tom, Lois, Carole, Bruce, and Elaine – have been instrumental in establishing the scholarship, which is earmarked for a student pursuing a degree in nursing or agriculture at an Ivy Tech Kokomo Region campus or instructional site. Preference is given to a resident of Cass County.
When they met in October, Poyser and Heckard daughter Nancy Rhodes found they had much in common. Poyser now lives near Rhodes’ childhood home. Both have three children. And while Poyser works to complete her nursing degree and looks forward to a career as a pediatric nurse, Rhodes is a retired nurse who shares Poyser’s love of helping children.
“It is fitting that Don Heckard be remembered through a scholarship to help students in the area he supported for so long,” said Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region. She noted Heckard was passionate about the role Ivy Tech would play in Indiana.
“Don served for five years on the Ivy Tech Regional Board of Trustees beginning in 1974 and continued that alliance as a member of the Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees for 10 years, serving two years as board chairman,” she said. “Later, he worked tirelessly for seven years as a director for the Ivy Tech Foundation to help raise much-needed funds to support the College’s mission. And, of course, he was a leader in developing the Ivy Tech Logansport Campus.
Heckard was a lifelong farmer in Cass County’s Noble Township and owned and operated Logan City Ice Company from 1973 to 2006. For 19 years he worked as a broker for Investors Diversified Services. He attended Calvary Presbyterian Church and was a 50-year-plus member of Logansport’s Tipton Masonic Lodge. He served as a Cass County councilman and was active in the Republican Party at county, district, state and national levels, including service as a presidential elector for George W. Bush in 2000. He was named Sagamore of the Wabash twice, once by Gov. Otis Bowen and later by Gov. Robert Orr.