CCSPSF Board Members Experiences Impact of Fund
Clay County Single Parent Scholarship Fund board member Duane Dutka recently had an attack of cellulitis in his leg, landing him in the Piggott Community Hospital for a week. While there he saw the impact of the scholarship fund in all its glory as recipients of several scholarships took care of him in their chosen medical professions.
"I've been admitted into other hospitals in the area, including Jonesboro, but the care I rececived at PCH was no comparison," Dutka said. "It was a more personal experience. They truly cared if you needed anything anytime, would stop in to check instead of you having to call them and provided just phenomenol treatment all around."
He was astounded to see the scholarships at work as several of the people to whom he had personally presented scholarships became his nurses and patient technicians during his stay.
Serving as Dutka's charge nurse was past scholarship recipient Andrew Rathel, who returned to his hometown after graduation. Current scholarship recipient Mia Boren of Piggott already has earned an LPN license but is still furthering her career. Briana Lacaze of Piggott, a past recipient of the scholarship, is a patient care technician with future plans to return to college. Current recipient Casey Rees of Piggott already has become a certified phlebotomist and used her skills for Dutka's IV treatments.
"It's fulfilling to do volunteer work (with the scholarship fund), but it's so good to see the results from the program in our hometown," Dutka said.
Dutka worked in the Department of Human Services for 30 years and has been on the scholarship fund board nearly as long. The Clay County program works with the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, which matches donations 160 percent. That means a donation of $400 actually turns into a $1,060 scholarship.
Contributions come from area residents, businesses and board members themselves.
Area banks who donate are Piggott State Bank, Regions Bank and Marmaduke's Bancorp South. Larger corporations who contribute include Entergy, United Way and the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
The number of scholarships given each year varies depending on the donation total and number of applications. The largest amount of scholarships given in a year was $14,000. Scholarships last year totaled between $7,000 and $8,000.