Conway Regional Tribute Tree raises scholarship money

Holiday shoppers looking for a more meaningful gift this year have an opportunity to give a gift that gives back.

Since 1999, the Tribute Tree at Conway Regional has provided the community with an opportunity to give a special light in honor or in memory of a loved one.

Last week, Conway Regional held a lighting ceremony for its new tree, located at the east entrance to the hospital and Women’s Center. The program included Christmas music by the Diamond State Men’s Chorus, light refreshments and treats for children.

It costs $25 to purchase a light and cards are provided to let the honoree know of the special gift made in his/her name.

Donations to the tree also light up the community by helping fund scholarships for students pursuing a degree in a health-related field, such as Mallori Kunkle. Mallori, a second generation nursing student, is the recipient of the Eleanor Duncan Nursing Scholarship. Her mother, Lori Reynolds, RN, is a long-time oncology nurse at Conway Regional.

“The scholarship meant a lot because nursing school is very demanding. I have very little time to work and being newly married, our finances were tight,” said Kunkle. “This scholarship allows me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse.”

Amy Doyle of Conway, a Garrison Scholarship recipient, said, “I was super thankful for it. It was a blessing to get that scholarship and the bigger blessing is it helped me obtain a job here in Conway. It felt like they were confident enough to investment in me. I didn’t want to drive into Little Rock.”

She worked full-time as an MSA while finishing nursing school at UCA. Amy now works as an RN on the fourth and third floor patient care units at Conway Regional.

Jennifer Cooper of North Little Rock, a Clemmie Cook Scholarship recipient, said “I’m very grateful for the scholarship. I didn’t have to take out as many loans. I had worked for nine years as an LPN and everybody encouraged me to take the LPN to RN track and the scholarship really helped.” Jennifer worked full-time at Conway Regional, cared for a 4-year-old child and completed her education. She is an RN working on the Cardiac Stepdown Unit at Conway Regional.

The Conway Regional Health Foundation has awarded more than $202,000 to area students since 1996.

Donations to the tree are being accepted through December.

Names of donors and their loved ones will be displayed in the East Lobby of the medical center and online at through the end of the year. For details call 501.513.5778 or email [email protected].