TFA scholarships make futures bright
Thomasville Firemen Association has a tradition of giving back to the community.
Members annually raise money through various fundraisers to support nonprofits or help local high school students pay for college. This year, TFA awarded $500 scholarships to six seniors who plan to make a career of helping others.
"This is all through the Association so it's firefighters who volunteer their time off-duty to do this fundraiser," said Dolly Hulin, fire and life safety director at Thomasville Fire Department. "This is the most we've ever done.”
Eligible applicants must have a parent or natural guardian who is a TFA member. This year's recipients include the following:
• Zack and Brooke Strother, son and daughter of Capt. Marty Strother.
• Savannah Shuler, daughter of Capt. Chris Shuler.
• Stephen Waddell, son of Capt. Ricky Waddel.
• Brittany Watts, daughter of Thomasville Fire Inspector Rocky Watts.
• Candace Lockhart, Thomasville Fire Corps volunteer, of Wheatmore High School.
Lockhart started volunteering with the fire corps when she was just 9 years old. Firefighting always interested Lockhart as a child and she has spent half of her life helping out with fire safety events.
"I just love going out there and showing the kids how to be fire safe," Lockhart said. "I really appreciate that the fire station gave me money. It means a lot."
Lockhart plans to study dental hygiene at Guilford Technical Community College. A career in firefighting, however, still is not out of the question.
"It's definitely still a choice," said Lockhart. "It's something that hasn't left my mind."
Rocky Watts said his daughter has been accepted to North Carolina A&T University to study nursing, and will use the money to purchase books and supplies.
"It's neat and I think she'll put it to good use," said Watts. "That money will go a long way. In this economy, every little bit helps. I'm thankful to the TFA for doing that."
TFA also raises money for muscular dystrophy, Communities In Schools of Thomasville and the Epilepsy Foundation. One of TFA’s biggest fundraisers of the year is the Christmas luminaries at Holly Hill Cemetery. TFA awarded the scholarships on Feb. 26 at its headquarters.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.