SALEM - The family of a 13-year-old Southern Local student who died last year plans to keep her memory and her light burning bright for years to come with a scholarship in her name.
Abby Walker's Light Memorial Fund has been established at Huntington Bank by her father, Steve Walker, and stepmother, Kileina, as a testament to Abby's giving nature. The seventh grader lost her life in a tragic ATV accident in April.
"Abby was always passionate about helping others and we want to incorporate that into the scholarship," Steve said.
The Fraternal Order of Police Quaker Lodge 88 donated a check for $1,000 to get the fund started. Steve serves as a detective with the Columbiana County Sheriff's Office. Salem Police Lt. Donn Beeson, president of the Quaker Lodge, said they normally try to do something when a member loses someone in their family and this seemed like a good idea.
He said the family was asked what the Quaker Lodge could do for them and they came up with the idea for Abby Walker's Light.
"I think anytime you can do a scholarship for kids it's a good investment," Beeson said.
The scholarship will be awarded primarily through Southern Local schools, but depending on the amount of contributions, may be expanded. The criteria is still being formulated, but Steve said he would like to see it awarded to "students that are helping in their community and actually showing compassion to others."
Abby was active with volleyball, the Trinity Friends Church youth group and the EXCEL program. He said she loved reading and movies and really loved going to the ocean. The family used to go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina every year and the Outer Banks became like her second home.
"She was a wonderful big sister and took care of her younger siblings," he said.
Not only did she love to read, Kileina said "she also had a passion for writing. She loved writing and loved writing science fiction."
Using the characters from the Star Wars movies, she would continue the saga and create new adventures for them. Writing was something she was really interested in pursuing. With Abby Walker's Light, that passion can live on.
"We wanted to do something to honor her memory and keep her memory alive with her classmates. We wanted it to be something that would give back to the community," Steve said, adding they want it to continue for years to come.
Some fundraisers are being planned for the fund, including an alumni volleyball tournament at Southern Local, possibly in the spring.
Donations to Abby Walker's Light Memorial Fund can be made at any Huntington Bank branch.