TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) - Three years have passed since Texarkana, Texas police officer Jason Sprague was fatally injured while responding to a call at a local park, but his name and legacy live on in a memorial scholarship supporting criminal justice students.
"I can't imagine him not being overwhelmed by the immense support that we have had," his widow, Stephanie Sprague, said on Friday.
"Since Jason can't be here to teach, then I think this is a great way to allow someone else to teach those potential officers and hopefully they will stay in our community.
This year's William Jason Sprague Memorial Scholarship was awarded Friday at Texarkana Community College to Percilla Cothren.
"I am greatly honored to receive this scholarship from Officer Sprague in his honor. I appreciate the sacrifice he made to make our world a better place."
Cothren is a mother of 4 and is one semester away from completing her Associate of Arts with a concentration in criminal justice. Cothren said she plans to continue her education to achieve her career goal of becoming an attorney.
The scholarship was made possible by community donations to keep the memory of Office Sprague alive.
Texarkana College President James Russell says through Stephanie Sprague's hard work, the scholarship fund has grown to $28,000.
In June of 2012, Officer Sprague was answering a disturbance call at Grady T. Wallace Park when he was hit by a vehicle driven by Justin Sanders. He died 3 days later of his injuries.
Sanders was ultimately found guilty of murder and is now serving a 30-year prison sentence.
While the loss suffered by Officer Sprague's family cannot be undone, the scholarship has become a tangible and enduring way to recognize his dedication to law enforcement and the sacrifices he and others are willing to make every day.
"I greatly appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement today. I know the sacrifices they make each and every day and the fear they face each and every day," said Stephanie Sprague. "We have had so many people not even from Texarkana who have supported us and just believe in what law enforcement does for our community."
The William Jason Sprague Memorial Scholarship was established in November 2013 with a $6,000 donation from the Texarkana Funeral Home in partnership with Stephanie Sprague.
It reached endowed status in August 2014.
The Texarkana College Foundation manages the funds and awards scholarships from the interest earned on the endowment.