By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
The family of Josey Lynn Scott, the 19-year-old Tarkington High School graduate killed by a drunk driver in 2015, continues to turn their tragedy into a positive for the community.
In addition to raising awareness for hit-and-run fatalities, the Scott family has created a memorial scholarship in Josey Lynn’s name. Money raised for scholarships comes from fundraisers like the upcoming Josey Lynn Scholarship Memorial Ranch Rodeo on April 12-13 at the Coldspring Fairgrounds.
This year’s event is the second annual ranch rodeo for the scholarship fund, said Amanda Scott, Josey Lynn’s stepmother.
“Last year we were able to give away three scholarships. We are hoping to give away at least two this year,” she said.
The scholarships are open to any student from the area, Scott said, since many of Josey Lynn’s friends came from the Tarkington-Cleveland area and San Jacinto County.
“It’s mainly for kids who are FFA-oriented. The funds can be used for traditional college or vocational training,” she said.
At the time of Scott’s tragic death, she was enrolled at Angelina Junior College and was planning to become a dental hygienist.
“She had just purchased her first car and was looking forward to life,” her stepmother said.
On Feb. 10, 2015, Scott, 19, was living in Shepherd and had gone out for a jog along FM 2666 when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver from the Cleveland area. The driver, Larry Wayne Duncan, 44, was sentenced to 19 years in prison and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.
For the Scott family, the tragedy was a catalyst for raising awareness to the dangers of hit-and-run accidents, so they began the Justice for Josey Hit-and-Run Awareness Campaign. The campaign also is a way for the Scott family to interact with other families who have lost loved ones in hit-and-run accidents.
“Everyone asks us, ‘How do you do it?’ What they don’t understand is that this is how we keep the memory of Josey alive,” she said. “We’ve taken something tragic and made it into something positive. That was her spirit. If it had been one of her friends who was killed, Josey wouldn’t have sat back and done nothing.”
The recent tragedies for the Tarkington families who have lost their loved ones in traffic accidents has been tough for the Scott family. Though the circumstances of the deaths were different than with Josey, the Scotts understand the kind of grief that never goes away for the families.
“Even now, we still have our good days and bad days,” she said. “There are days we still expect her to come bouncing through the door.”
If you want to help the scholarship fund by donating items for concessions or auctions, please contact Andy Goff at 979-479-0695, Jared Wakefield at 979-533-0820 or Charidy Risner at 713-702-9180.
The ranch rodeo will have a silent auction and concession stand on both days.
Information on events is listed on the flyer below.