The family of Olney Central College nursing graduate Juanita Harris chose to honor her legacy by presenting a scholarship in her memory to a second-year Associate Degree Nursing student. Julie Harrolle, of Olney, is the recipient of the $1,200 monetary award, which can be used for tuition, fees, books, travel or other college-related expenses.
“The scholarship will allow me to work fewer hours and to concentrate on my education,” Harrolle said. “It is a blessing. I know it didn’t seem like a lot of money to her family, but it is a huge deal to me. It has inspired me and hopefully one day I can give back in the same way.” Harris’ daughter, Debra Harris Kircher, presented Harrolle with the scholarship on behalf of her brother, Robin Harris, and the entire family.
“Being a nurse was so important to Mom,” Harris Kircher said. “It was her life, and she loved her work. She was a good nurse. She was dedicated to quality, professional care, kindness, and compassion. She dedicated herself to Christian nursing. She helped a lot of people in the church and the community. She was the friend they always came to.”
Harris passed away from cancer on Feb. 21, 2021, at age 91. A non-traditional student, Harris chose to pursue a degree in nursing after her husband sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident, which left him paralyzed. An honors student, Harris completed her associate degree in nursing in 1974, and later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Harris spent her entire career serving in private medical offices. She especially enjoyed the 20 years she worked at Dr. Kimball Ewell’s practice in Eldorado before retiring at age 75. Harris inspired others to pursue nursing careers as well.
“We were proud to have four nurses in the family,” Harris Kircher said. “I became a nurse, her granddaughter has achieved a master’s degree and is completing her studies as a nurse practitioner, and her granddaughter-in-law is also a nurse.”
The family is excited to assist Harrolle in reaching her goal.
“We want to thank all of the friends, family and co-workers who contributed to the scholarship fund,” Harris Kircher said. “We wanted to help someone like Mom, who was trying to go back to school with a family, and maybe needed some additional financial support. We were honored to give the scholarship to Julie.”