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Student killed in tornado leaves a legacy

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Amy Langley, nursing director at Snead State Community College in Alabama, presents a nursing degree to 6-year-old Arianna, whose mother was killed in a tornado last month.
(Photo: Jonathan Stinson)

Amanda Garmany remembers the day her sister-in-law, the late Jennifer Garmany Hallmark, convinced her to enroll in the registered nursing (RN) program at Snead State Community College (SSCC) in Alabama.

“I’ll never forget the day she asked me, ‘You want to go to nursing school?’" Garmany said. "Jennifer was super smart, but she was always the one who passed out when she had to have her blood drawn. I never knew she was even interested in nursing."

Hallmark was one of several community college students killed by fierce tornadoes that barreled through the South last month.

Hallmark, who is survived by her husband and 6-year-old daughter, Arianna, opened her life up to studying to be a nurse, and she did so with Garmany at her side.

“We felt God leading us to nursing school. Jennifer was my right-hand man. She was super smart, and once she learned something, she remembered it, even if it was something we studied a while ago,” Garmany said. “When we were in clinicals, she did what needed to be done without a problem, and she did a good job. She studied and worked hard.”

The sisters-in-law enrolled at SSCC three years ago. After completing the core curriculum, they enrolled in courses toward an associate degree in nursing, which they achieved this spring. Hallmark maintained the highest grade-point average in her class as both a first-year and second-year RN student.

Hallmark’s achievements and memory were honored at SSCC during the RN Pinning Ceremony on May 11 and the spring commencement ceremony on May 12. Her daughter attended both ceremonies to accept the nursing pin and degree awarded posthumously to her mother.

Hallmark's family has honored her memory by establishing the Jennifer Garmany Hallmark Scholarship Fund. The college will contribute the first $1,000 to the endowment to match the contribution made by the Hallmark and Garmany families.

“We are humbled to be able to honor Jennifer’s memory in this way,” said SSCC President Robert Exley. “Our hearts are broken for her family and friends, but they have served as an inspiration by reminding us through Jennifer’s legacy of the things that are most important in life—faith, family and compassion.”

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