Church shooting survivor offers scholarships to prison nurses | News from USA®

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) – One of the survivors of a racist massacre at an African-American church in South Carolina has started giving scholarships from her foundation to students who want to provide health care to prisoners.

Polly Daniels Sheppard set aside money for speaking engagements and other events to create the Polly Sheppard Foundation, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

Sheppard was one of five people inside Emanuel AME Church who survived in June 2015 when a racist attended a Bible study and then gunned down nine church members.

Sheppard called 911 as dozens of bullets were fired and the shooter told her he would let her live so she could tell the world what had happened. This appeal was played during the trial of a man who was sentenced to death for the murders.

Sheppard worked as a nurse at the Charleston County Jail for 14 years and said she was disturbed by the lack of health workers with compassion for people they could help behind bars.

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“You actually meet some interesting people in prison,” Sheppard told the newspaper, “and over half of them aren’t actually criminals.”

The Sheppard Foundation awards the scholarship of nearly $ 6,000 through Trident Technical College. Nikki Walker received the first prize in August and is expected to graduate in a few weeks. The 34-year-old mother is a former prison guard who hopes her new medical career will help her care for a girl with health problems as well as inmates.

Walker plans to start her career as a nurse at South Carolina Medical University before moving to prison and then possibly becoming a nurse examiner for sexual assault.

“Just because you’re in jail doesn’t mean you don’t deserve proper care,” Walker said. “No one is immune to making a bad choice.”

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