Pacific Life Recipient

Hannah Smith

AMOUNT: $15,000
SCHOOL: Christopher Newport University
On Christmas 2015 my family was hit from behind by a drunk driver. My father was killed instantly. He had just won an award at work for his exceptional integrity. He was an exceptional role model and loved his family with every ounce of his being. My mother had severe internal injuries. She had damage to several organs and lost a large portion of her intestines. Both of my brothers were ejected from the SUV. One brother fractured his skull and suffers from back issues to this day – the other brother was not as lucky. My oldest brother suffers from a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. He broke every bone in his face and his back in three places. He didn’t open his eyes for over a month and went through stages of consciousness before fully emerging from his coma about five months later. He now has a brain shunt and struggles with seizures. He spent two years learning how to talk, eat and walk again and he struggles with severe memory issues. I am a softball athlete. At the time of the accident I had just started getting noticed by coaches and was hoping to get a D1 athletic scholarship. My foot was trapped under my father’s car seat, crushing every bone. After eleven surgeries it took me six months to relearn how to walk. I have permanent ligament and tendon damage. I have severe pain and my foot needs to be fused, but I have chosen to return to softball and play for as long as I can tolerate. Playing at the college level was a dream my father and I shared. I recently committed to play for Christopher Newport University. As a D3 school, they do not have athletic scholarships and without my father’s income, I need to find financial support from other sources.

My father worked his entire life to take care of his family. In a moment, someone else’s irresponsibility stole our financial security. Like most working families, paychecks were used to pay the bills and raise the children. Often, very little was left for savings or future investments. This made life insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance all the more important. Had my father not had the forethought to have these coverages, we would have lost our home and struggled to meet our most basic daily needs. Unfortunately the man who caused the accident did not have acceptable levels of insurance coverage. His auto insurance was the minimum required by law in Virginia – $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident. The medical bills for my family of five had exceeded that amount before leaving the scene of the accident. He had nothing we could sue for and is now in prison, leaving us to figure out how to survive without my father’s income while continuing to incur medical bills that have exceeded $2 million. There is no such thing as too much insurance, but not enough insurance is devastating.

Throughout our recovery, I have maintained a 4.4 GPA. I will major in neuroscience in hopes of finding better treatment and recovery options for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

Pin It on Pinterest