$25,000 Grant Awarded to NFC Foundation for Last Mile Scholarships
Karla and Herschel Rooks -Photo: NFC
By Desiree James
MADISON, FL – The North Florida College Foundation is honored to receive a $25,000 grant from the Homer N Allen Charitable Trust. These funds are presented as a memorial gift in remembrance of the late Karla and Herschel Rooks and will support the Last Mile Scholarship program at NFC.
“We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to recognize two people who demonstrated a steadfast dedication to the education and welfare of young people their entire lives”, said Gordie Allen, Co-Trustee and brother of Homer Allen for whom the trust is named.
Herschel Rooks was born in 1927 in Citrus County, Florida. He was an avid outdoorsman, a 4th generation Florida Cattleman, and a World War II veteran who served in the United States Navy. Karla was born in Tonawanda, New York, but her family later moved to Inverness, Florida. She was an active member of the Citrus County Fair Association, Planning and Zoning Board, and later joined both Greenville and Madison’s Woman’s Clubs and the Madison Garden Club.
In 1943, Karla and Herschel were married at the Inverness United Methodist Church. They settled in Citrus County where they spent many happy years farming, raising cattle, and investing in their community. Karla and Herschel also welcomed three children, Bertha Allen, Catherine Cassidy and Herschel Rooks, Jr., all of whom now reside in Madison.
In 1974 at the Key Training Center in Crystal River, an organization that offers individualized services to citizens with development disabilities, Florida Governor Reubin Askew attended the dedication of the Karla Rooks Building. He acknowledged Karla’s “outstanding love and service rendered to special persons served by the Citrus County Association for Retarded Children”. The photo of Governor Askew and Karla at the dedication is a treasured family heirloom and a testament to the time that the Rooks spent serving their community.
In 1992, Karla and Herschel moved to Madison County. Although now deceased, their legacy lives on through the gift of the Homer N Allen Charitable Trust to the NFC Foundation in support of Last Mile Scholarships.
The Last Mile program assists students who have 12 credit hours or less remaining to complete their degree at NFC but have been un-enrolled for at least one semester. It can be challenging for students to return to school after having their education interrupted by work or family, but in less than three years, the NFC Foundation has helped 40 Last Mile students complete their degrees at NFC.
After earning their degree or certificate at NFC, these students are empowered to reach their next goal, whether that be financial security, higher education, or a change in career.
According to Traci McClung, NFC Director of Resource Development, “The Last Mile program has already exceeded our expectations and continues to grow. With private donors like the Homer N Allen Charitable Trust supporting them, Last Mile students who are overcoming great obstacles in their life to complete their education will receive a vote of confidence in the form of a scholarship award.”