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Paying Tribute to a Father’s Gift of Life
CHESTERTOWN, MD, June 6, 2015—Washington College student Amanda Eichler ’18 recently received a positive reminder of the gift of life her father made to others at the time of his death in December 2014. Because Thomas Eichler was an organ donor, his daughter was eligible for a $1,000 scholarship from the David Nelson Memorial Fund.
The namesake of the memorial fund, David Nelson Jr., passed away suddenly in July 2006, and his donation of organs saved or improved the lives of five strangers. To honor his memory, Nelson’s family and friends established a fund to provide educational scholarships for surviving children of donor parents. The scholarship fund is administered by the Gift of Life Donor Program and this year awarded $1,000 each to four recipients.
Katherine Amanda Eichler, a rising sophomore from Smyrna, Delaware, is an English major minoring in secondary education. She holds two federal work-study jobs on the Washington College campus during the school year, one on the Miller Library circulation desk and another as a dispatcher for the Office of Public Safety. Public Safety Director Jerry Roderick wrote one of her letters of recommendation, praising Eichler as a student who always comes to work with a smile on her face, is resourceful, cordial, professional and a quick learner. “Amanda is a terrific young person, and we are very pleased to see her recognized by the Nelson Memorial Fund,” he says.
In an email, David Nelson’s mother, Patti Nelson, wrote, “Amanda Eichler is an extremely bright, hardworking young lady. We are honored to help support her financially as she pursues her teaching career. On her application, she shared that being accepted to Washington College last winter was the best Christmas present she could receive. Little did she know that one year later the only present she would want would be for her dad to come out of ICU. Things drastically changed when her father passed suddenly from an aneurysm. I think she was comforted to know that her father was an organ donor, and her father will always be a hero in her eyes. We hope to continue to support her in the future.”
“I was so shocked that I was one of the five who received the scholarship,” says a grateful Eichler. “This helps me complete my education. Every contribution really matters.”