Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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September 16, 2013

Woman's gift continues to ‘Pay it forward’

Corsicana — Single mom Janay Williams received word from the United Methodist Women Monday that she is the recipient of a scholarship, courtesy of an act of kindness toward another single mom in the 1940s.

That woman was named Grace, and she had a normal family with a spouse and two children, until her husband walked out on her leaving her with no means of support and two young mouths to feed. Jean Gee and Opal Campbell of the United Methodist Women rallied their group to help her, and raised the money to send the young mother to nursing school.

“That lady worked hard, and eventually became a doctor,” said Belinda Taylor of the First United Methodist Church UMW. “She moved to Tennessee, and when she passed away in the mid-1980s, she left money in her will to the UMW to ‘pay it forward.’”

Dr. Grace Swinburn Jaynes left $10,000 to the United Methodist Women of First United Methodist Church Corsicana, and it was accompanied by a letter. The money sat untouched (save for a donation to a mission project from the interest that had accumulated) until Jean Gee, who resided in a nursing home elsewhere, appointed Taylor and Jan Noblett to replace she and Campbell, who was deceased by this time, as trustees on the Jaynes Trust in 2012.

“The terms of the trust stated we must give the money to a nursing student,” Taylor said. “So we enlisted the help of Dr. Tommy Stringer and the Navarro College Foundation.”

Carla Scott was the recipient of the 2012 scholarship. The Grace Swinborn Jaynes Memorial Scholarship is to go to a single mother enrolled in a Navarro College nursing program as a full-time student. It is automatically renewed each semester for four semesters provided the recipient maintains a minimum grade point average of 2.75.

Janay Williams spoke at the Fall UMW Luncheon Monday at First United Methodist and described how she has one son, and a grandmother who had gastric cancer, which inspired her to want to pursue nursing. Hospitalized herself as a child with severe asthma, Williams mentioned a male nurse who took very good care of her, and also played a role in her wanting to pursue a career in nursing.

Barbara Jones, director of the LVN program at Navarro College, said Williams is in her first semester of the program, and is doing well, learning how to calculate and administer meds, among other things.

“Thank you for your support of people like Janay, single moms out there with little or no support,” Jones said. “Without people like you, many have to drop out of the program, and don’t realize their potential.”

“It’s more than just financial support,” agreed Stringer, also present. “It is you saying to her and to others, ‘We believe in you.’”


Deanna Kirk may be reached by email at Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:

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