About The Micah Williams Memorial Scholarship
Micah Jay Williams was born on November 20, 2018, with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a heart defect in which the left part of the heart is underdeveloped. The treatment for HLHS requires three open-heart surgeries. Despite the devastating diagnosis, Micah recovered from the first two surgeries and thrived. He lived a very happy life for eight months and made a huge impact on his family through his strength, smile and joy. He enjoyed laughing at his older brother, Chandler, who absolutely adored him.
Although Micah was doing extremely well, he took a dramatic and sudden turn on August 6, 2019. Though everything was done to save him, his heart condition ultimately took his life that day. He will forever live in the hearts of his family, friends, and an entire community who supported him on this journey.
While we can’t heal the pain left by Micah’s absence, we can honor his memory. The Micah Williams Memorial Scholarship was created for students seeking higher education in the medical field so they can contribute to the health of their patients and aid people like Micah.
The Micah Williams Memorial Scholarship has been endowed by the Rutledge family. The Rutledge’s became connected to Micah and the Williams family through Gulf Winds Credit Union. Chris Rutledge was the President and CEO of Gulf Winds for over twenty years. During that time, he worked closely with Jack Williams, Micah’s great-grandfather, and long-time member of the Credit Union’s Board of Directors.
Chris and his wife, Katia, were deeply moved upon hearing Micah’s story. Katia was a labor delivery recovery and post-partum registered nurse and understood the impact Micah’s condition would have on him and his family. As the parents of two sons themselves, they sympathized with the Williams and wanted to help. When they learned that the specialized care Micah needed was offered at the University of Florida Health system in Gainesville, Florida, they opened their home in Gainesville to the Williams family. This allowed the Williams to stay together, far from their home, for Micah’s birth and subsequent surgeries.
The Rutledge’s endowed this scholarship to honor Micah, his family, and the doctors and nurses who fought for his recovery. Their generous gift ensures the scholarship will be given to a deserving student every year in perpetuity, helping to develop a new generation of medical professionals.
The purpose of the Micah Williams Memorial Scholarship is to recognize outstanding students and support their ambition to provide professional medical services.
The Gulf Winds Cares Foundation will offer one (1) scholarship of $5,000 during the 2024-2025 scholarship cycle.
The winning scholar may choose for up to 50% of the award be paid directly to them for expenses related to furthering their education. The rest of the award will be directed to the recipient’s school of choice and marked “for tuition purposes only.”
- Applicant must be a high school graduate.
- Applicant must have completed at least 12 credit hours pursuing a degree or certification in a health-related field. All degrees are eligible, including associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral.
- Applicants must have at least 12 credit hours remaining after the scholarship award date to attain their desired certificate or degree in a health-related field.
- Applicants must be enrolled in a health discipline related directly to patient care. Veterinary medicine, dentistry and administrative disciplines (like public health) do not qualify.
- Applicant must complete all parts of the application by the posted deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.
- Applicants must live in Gulf Winds Credit Union’s field of membership as listed at GoGulfWinds.com/Membership/Join.
- Employees of Gulf Winds Credit Union and members of their immediate family are not eligible to participate.
Questions about eligibility should be directed to [email protected] or call 850-479-9601 x 149.
The application opens on Monday, January 8, 2024, and must be returned by March 8, 2024. Completed applications must include the following:
- Application Form — All requested information must be included.
- School Transcripts — Two transcripts are required: One (1) from the institution you are currently attending and one (1) from the institution/school you most recently graduated from.
- Personal Recommendations — At least one (1) and not more than four (4).
- Academic Recommendations — At least one (1) and not more than four (4).
- Personal Statement — A personal statement answering the prompt provided.
After the submission deadline, applications are screened for completeness and forwarded to the Gulf Winds Cares Foundation Scholarship Review Committee for evaluation and ranking. Applications are scored using a point system. The committee rates applications based on academic success, grade point average, extracurricular and community experiences that demonstrate leadership, career ambitions and thoughtful, clear writing. Quality references are also considered.
No applicant will be excluded from participation or be denied the benefits of a Gulf Winds Cares Foundation Scholarship on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sex, or disability. The recipient must meet all eligibility requirements. Applications will be scored solely on their merits according to the categories of:
- Financial need
- Academic achievement
- Essay strength
- Community work/extracurriculars
- Overall strength of the application
Notification of Winners
All applicants will be notified of the results by the end of April 2024.
Applicants agree to be interviewed and photographed for recognition and promotional purposes if they receive the scholarship.