LONGVIEW - Lower Columbia College nursing alumni have embarked on a campaign to endow a permanent yearly scholarship for future nursing students at the school and alum Mark McCrady is giving a major helping hand by issuing a $10,000 matching challenge.

"So far we've received a lot of positive feedback as well as a couple donations," one of the organizers, Ed Hunt said. "At first we thought this would be something supported by the nursing alumni, but we've had interest and donations from people who have had their lives touched by LCC nurses."

Hunt, who lives with his wife and daughters in Rosburg, first came to this area as a reporter for the Chinook Observer and went to nursing school after several years working for Portland-based Ecotrust.

"Bryan (Lomax) first came up with the idea for this scholarship and thought it could be a gift from our graduating class to future nurses," Hunt said. "Of course, we were all in school still trying to pay rent, feed families and buy books so other than Don and I, he didn't get much interest."

The LCC alumni group is asking their fellow graduates to each set aside $10 a week for a year. Even if only 40 participate, that will equal about $20,000 in a single year. "That means your investment of $520 will continue working year after year to support the ambitions of nursing professionals for generations to come. Of course, you can give more or less and still make a difference," according to a brochure promoting this scholarship drive.

In the past few days, McCrady stepped up to offer a dollar-for-dollar match for all contributions up to a total of $10,000. This means that a contribution of $100 will result in $200 being put into the scholarship fund.

Answering the eternal question, "What's In It For Me?" the LCC alums respond "OK,, so maybe you aren't the altruistic type. Or maybe you are and you just don't want anyone to know. That's cool. The good news is we'll still take your money and put it to good use creating generations of nurses who just might take care of you the next time you end up in a hospital, nursing home or clinic. The other upside is that the LCC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. That means anything you donate is tax deductible. Why not give that money to us instead of Uncle Sam? That way, you'll know exactly where every penny of it is going."

For more information, contact the organizers of the LCC Nursing Alumni endowment at (lccalumninurse@gmail.com) or call Hunt at 360-465-2433. Checks made payable to "Lower Columbia College Foundation," with "Nursing Alumni Scholarship" on the comment line may be sent to P.O. Box 3010, Longview, WA 98632-0310.

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