TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) - Texarkana Community College is hoping to forever honor a local police officer killed in the line of duty with a scholarship program, and now the very first recipient has been awarded.
Criminal justice student Austin Butts became the first recipient of the Jason Sprague Memorial Scholarship in a ceremony at TCC Tuesday morning. His career goal is to joint the FBI.
"I am very honored to receive it and yes, I am surprised and happy at the same time," said Butts.
The scholarship was created by the family of Officer Jason Sprague for students majoring in criminal justice.
Officer Sprague died in June of 2013 as a result of injuries he suffered when he was run over by a vehicle while responding to a disturbance call at a Texarkana park. He had served as a Texarkana, Texas police officer for 2 years.
"I started the project for criminal justice majors because I thought they didn't get enough support," says the late officer's widow, Stephanie Sprague, who says her husband took pride in helping new police officers with their responsibilities, and now even in death, he can continue to do so. "I am certain that he is smiling down, and I am sure he is very excited about Austin's career, as well."
The Memorial Scholarship was set up with the Texarkana College Foundation in November 2013, with a $6,000 donation from Texarkana Funeral Home. Since that time, the Sprague Memorial Scholarship Fund has grown to over $13,000 from additional donations.
"The goal is to get it to $25,000, so that it is permanently endowed, so forever there will be a scholarship given in the name of officer Jason sprague."
For now, the scholarship is for one student per semester, but Russell says they hope to see it grow so that more students can benefit from Officer Jason Sprague's sacrifice.
For additional information or to make a donation, contact Katie Andrus at (903) 823-3125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.