Southern State Community College student Shana Sarbach was named the first recipient of the newly established Debbie Ewing Memorial Scholarship during the recent graduation ceremony for the college’s respiratory care program.
The scholarship was created in memory of Debbie Ewing, a member of SSCC’s first class of the respiratory care program. After Ewing, 64, of Lynchburg, died unexpectedly in May 2015, her family and friends worked with the SSCC Foundation to establish a scholarship in her memory.
Prior to presenting the scholarship award at the graduation ceremony, Beth Klosterman addressed the graduating class with a tribute to her beloved mother:
“At the age of 55, determined to fulfill a dream and keep a promise to her father, Debbie Ewing began a journey to earn a degree in the medical field. She began taking core classes at Southern State Community College and then applied for the Respiratory Care Program, a new offering through the college.
“Having had no previous medical classes, Debbie was nervous she would not be accepted into the program, but she was. Debbie took this opportunity very seriously. She was a great student and, being the oldest in most of her classes, quickly became ‘Mom” to many of her younger classmates. She worked hard over the next two years and graduated on Dec. 1, 2007.
“After graduation, Debbie took a position at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. She loved being a respiratory therapist and she loved working at ‘The Valley.’ Co-workers quickly became extended family and she always had a smile and a hug for anyone in need.
“She was an angel on earth for every patient she encountered. One patient said when he opened his eyes and saw her smile, he thought he was in Heaven. One morning, even though she already had an hour-and-a-half drive ahead of her, she got up extra early because one of her patients had told her the night before that the only thing he wanted in this world was a glass of buttermilk. The hospital didn’t have any, so she made sure she left early enough that morning to stop and pick him up that buttermilk he wanted so badly.
“What an inspiration and role model she was, always putting everyone before herself. She was a proud wife, mother and grandma. She loved with all of her heart, and she gave until she had nothing left to give.”
Submitted by Kris Cross, Southern State director of public relations.