EMILY DOWNEY MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP HONORS YOUNG LIFE BY HELPING CLASSMATES
Written By: Robin Reid, Storyteller
Her life ended too soon, but the memory and legacy of Emily Downey, an Indian Creek High School student and athlete, continues to help fellow classmates who are heading to college.
“Emily was a friendly face to everyone she encountered. She made everyone feel special and important. She was just a genuinely uplifting, kind, and compassionate person to be around,” said Lara Parker. “She was my best friend and made me feel so loved. I actually credit her with helping me to learn what friendship and unconditional love is or is supposed to be.”
Emily, the 16-year-old daughter of Jeff Downey and Sara (Quick) Melone in Morgantown, died on October 12, 2006, due to injuries she sustained in an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident that September.
Emily played many sports including basketball, tennis, swimming, track, and softball. She was also a member of Student Council and 4-H Junior Leaders.
“Lara, like many teenage girls, had self-esteem issues. Emily had a positive impact on Lara’s image of herself. She taught Lara how to fix her hair in a certain way, put on makeup, and just be that special friend. It was always Lara and Emily as a single thought, not two separate people, but one unit. They were going to go to college together, marry and live near each other so their children would grow up together,” said Chris and Susan Parker, Lara’s parents.
According to the Parkers, setting up a scholarship in memory of another person provides a bit of healing for those left behind. It’s a concrete way to help others, as well as a long-term benefit for the community. Even though many who receive this scholarship will never know of Emily’s kindness, they will know her name and remember why they were able to receive their scholarship gift.
“Emily lived to make other people smile,” added Lara.
The Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) has supported the Emily Downey Memorial Scholarship since 2012 in the form of a CFMC Fund. Setting up and maintaining a scholarship isn’t difficult as CFMC manages the administrative and financial functions of the fund.
Shelby Carter, a graduating senior at Indian Creek High School, is the recipient of this year’s Emily Downey Memorial Scholarship. The daughter of Tracy and Thomas Carter in Morgantown, Shelby was involved with Future Farmers of America (FFA) for four years and a 10-year member of the Johnson County 4-H organization. She has been accepted at Ivy Tech in Bloomington and plans to pursue a career in nursing.
CFMC’s mission is to connect donors and their charitable giving with our evolving community needs in order to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations through impact grantmaking. The vision of CFMC is to be the philanthropic leader and a catalyst in order to maximize available resources in our community.