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Brewer's courage in adversity inspires new JA awards

 

New Hope High School senior Jerrod Bradley, left, and JA member Pam Foster are pictured Wednesday at the JA spring luncheon at Lion Hills Center.

New Hope High School senior Jerrod Bradley, left, and JA member Pam Foster are pictured Wednesday at the JA spring luncheon at Lion Hills Center. Photo by: Mary Alice Weeks/Dispatch Staff

 

Jan Swoope

 

In the almost three years Terry Brewer was a part of Junior Auxiliary of Columbus, she had a profound affect on its members and the children she worked with through chapter projects. In spite of losing a daughter to cancer, and undergoing treatment for the disease herself during that tenure, Brewer was passionate and positive about her service work, above and beyond the regular duties of a JA member.  

 

Soon after Brewer lost her fight against breast cancer in August 2013, the chapter began searching for ways to honor her memory. The Terry Brewer Spirit Award and Terry Brewer Spirit Scholarship debuted this spring. JA member Pam Foster is the inaugural recipient of the Spirit Award. New Hope High School senior Jerrod Bradley is the first recipient of the Spirit Scholarship. 

 

"For the Spirit Award, our membership voted for the member they felt most exemplified the characteristics Terry portrayed -- going above and beyond, being a team player, great attitude and precious spirit," said outgoing JA president Dana Putt. The vote result was kept secret until the night of the annual JA Charity Ball on April 5. Pam Foster was taken by surprise. 

 

"It was a shock!" said Foster. "I was actually standing inside the back door to make sure the court members got in during the ball ... and then Dana called out my name."  

 

Foster has faced her own adversities this year, suddenly losing her husband in January, followed shortly by the deaths of her grandmother and great-aunt.  

 

"It's been a difficult time, and sometimes you want to throw in the towel, but you think about Terry, who lost her own child, all the things she endured, and she kept a smile on her face and worked continuously to help others. ... I think that's what kept me sane," said Foster, who joined JA in the same provisional training class as Brewer. The two were close friends.  

 

Foster is humbled, honored and inspired. "It was amazing to watch Terry's journey and perseverance; she had a faith that was bigger than life. She was full of grace and love for other people; it showed in everything she did, whether it was her church, personal life or JA. If I could just live up to a portion of what she did, I'll be grateful." 

 

 

 

Encouraging youth 

 

New Hope High School senior Jerrod Bradley was awarded the first Terry Brewer Spirit Scholarship Wednesday at the JA chapter's annual spring luncheon at Lion Hills Center and Golf Course. The $8,000 scholarship, payable $2,000 per year for four years, will assist Bradley as he begins the Early Entrance Pharmacy Program at the University of Mississippi in the fall. He is the son of Paul and Aimee Bradley. 

 

Applicants were evaluated on academics, school and community activities and an essay, among other criteria. The Brewer Spirit Scholarship will be awarded each spring to an exceptional Lowndes County student who has shown commitment to faith-based activities and plans to attend a four-year institution. 

 

The chapter has also established the Terry Brewer Book-It Award, for elementary students who participate in the Junior Auxiliary Mentors program, Brewer's favorite JA project. 

 

"Terry's compassion and grace, even in the face of struggle, embodies the spirit of JA," said Putt. "We're honored to remember her by establishing the scholarship and award in her memory."

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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