Joyce Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund
When Mike Brown left with his wife, Joyce, and their two children, Anastasia and Michael John for a New Year’s Day bowl game in Florida between the University of Georgia and Mike’s alma mater, Purdue University, he had only happy thoughts. He would be reunited with some of his former associates at the University where he had made a name for himself, after an outstanding football career at Southwest High School in Macon. His wife and children would be part of a New Year’s celebration that he had been looking forward to ever since the game was announced on the evening news.
Mike could not foresee the tragedy that this last day of 1999 would bring. While traveling on I-75 in South Georgia, the family was involved in a car accident and Joyce and Michael John were killed. What was to be a happy reunion and a celebration of his own gridiron achievements, turned into a nightmare that he could not have imagined.
In the long months following the accident, Mike and his daughter, Ana, began crafting a new life for themselves, all the while remembering the little boy and the wonderful mother whose life had meant so much to so many. At her death, Joyce was Director of the Cancer Life Center at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, a position she had worked toward for many years. She wanted to live a life of service to others, and she saw nursing as a perfect way to do this. Mike wanted to find a way to keep her memory alive while helping those who felt the same call to service.
Mike established a scholarship fund in Joyce’s memory. With the advice and support of his priest, Mike chose to create a scholarship fund at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. This would be a perfect way to honor Joyce’s memory, while making an education available to those who are pursuing a degree in nursing.
“Joyce had to work hard to get her education,” Mike said. “And I wanted to make it a little easier for others who had that desire to serve, like Joyce.” He was privileged to be on scholarship at Purdue, but Joyce did not have that luxury. Mike saw how hard it was for her to keep up with her course work while working almost fulltime. He knew that she endured the hardships because of her unwavering belief in the importance of education. That’s why they postponed marriage until they were both out of college. Now Mike wants to make it easier for those who come after him. He believes this is the perfect way to honor a noble woman whose life reflected the values he now wants to share.