Calhoun awards first scholarship honoring fallen officers
HUNTSVILLE – Calhoun Community College and the Huntsville Police Department announced that Kayla Lewis, law enforcement officer with the City of Huntsville, has been selected as the first recipient of the Clardy Memorial Scholarship. She is currently enrolled at Calhoun as a criminal justice major.
The 24-year old recent graduate of the Huntsville Police Academy has always dreamed of working in the criminal justice field since she was a teenager. “Neither of my parents had the opportunity to attend college while growing up,” commented Lewis. “They both faced so many obstacles that interfered with the chance of them furthering their education,” she added.
“I am from a very small town where violence and drugs were a common thing among the locals,” said Lewis. “One day, I remember a horrible accident taking place not too far from my house. My next-door neighbor was at our door covered in blood, as she begged my mother to call the police. My mom invited her in the house and asked what happened. I remember the horrified look in her eyes as she told us that she had been beaten up by her boyfriend. She had three small children whom I would often play with that were now taken away by her abusive boyfriend. The police came to our home, got our neighbor and not only placed her in a safe house, but they were also able to reunite her with her children. It was from this experience, and the environment in which I lived, that ignited the fire in me to not only help people, but to also save those who were perishing daily in my community,” Lewis added.
The Clardy Memorial Scholarship was created to not only honor the memory of fallen Officers Bill Clardy, Jr., who died in 1978 and STAC Agent Billy Clardy, III who died in 2019, but also to provide an opportunity for an officer to obtain an associate’s degree in a criminal justice-related field. “The Huntsville Police Department places great importance in providing the best police service to its citizens through highly professional police officers,” commented Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray. “In order to provide this level of professional service, it is important to ensure that its officers are well trained and educated,” added McMurray.
“My career path has taken me into many directions and I was so thankful when I got the call that I was accepted into the Huntsville Police Academy,” says Lewis. “I struggled academically, mentally and physically throughout my life. But with hard work and dedication, I completed the 20-week program. I want to be the change our communities need to help stop the continuous spread of drugs to our youth as well as violence. This scholarship was the financial support I needed to pursue my life-long dream,” said Lewis.
According to Johnette Davis, Calhoun’s Foundation Director, the annual scholarship fund has reached $12,000, and individuals who are interested in donating to the fund can still do so by contacting Calhoun’s Foundation Office at 256-306-4823.
To learn more about the Clardy scholarship or how to donate to Calhoun, visit www.calhoun.edu/give.