By Sarah Palmer
Early in the morning on March 25, the unthinkable happened: A Hospital Wing medical transport helicopter crashed en route to its base in Brownsville, Tenn., killing its pilot and two flight nurses. Misty Brogdon was one of those nurses killed in the crash.
Since that fatal day, Brogdon’s friends and family members founded the Misty Brogdon Memorial Scholarship to honor the fallen nurse and provide a memory for her children to cherish for years to come. The scholarship will be funded by money raised from the “Wings of an Angel” annual girls’ fastpitch softball tournament, Sept. 25–26, in Halls, Tenn.
Missy Rogers, emergency medical dispatch/technician at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, is one of the founders of the scholarship. Her daughter, Kayla, is Brogdon’s stepdaughter.
“It was kind of a strange relationship,” Rogers said. “As the wife and ex-wife, we weren’t supposed to be friends. But we were. We were just really, really good friends.”
Rogers and Brogdon’s family decided they wanted to honor her after the Hospital Wing 5 crash, and the family found inspiration in two of Brogdon’s loves: her children and softball. Her stepdaughter Kayla, 11, plays softball, and Brogdon’s son Kenley, 4, had just started playing tee ball before his mother died.
Funds raised from the “Wings of an Angel” tournament, named by Kayla, will provide scholarships to three students going into the nursing profession. Scholarships will go to one student from each of these schools: Halls High School, the same district where Kayla attends elementary school; South Side High School, where Brogdon graduated in 1993; and Union University, where Brogdon graduated as a registered nurse in 1997.
The exact amount of the scholarships will be decided after the tournament, and applications are scheduled to be sent to the schools in January or February, Rogers said. Brogdon’s children will present the scholarships to recipients.
Rogers said financial status is not a factor in determining who receives the scholarship; the main factor is why they want to be a nurse.
“We want somebody who’s doing it for the right reason, and has as much passion about his or her patients as Misty did,” she said.
The tournament each year will be girls’ fastpitch, with six to eight teams in the 10-and-under group, and four to six teams in the 12-and-under group. It will be held at Critchfield Park and will start with opening ceremony activities. Brogdon’s children will throw the first pitch.
The whole family itself needs something positive to look forward to, to deal with things like this,” Rogers said. “This will be good for everybody. It’ll be something fun and exciting, and the kids get to look forward to it every year.”
As for the tragedy of the crash, Rogers said the helicopters cannot be blamed for the deaths.
“I’m a firm believer in when God is ready, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a helicopter, or if you’re ina car, or if you’re sitting at your office. That’s probably the one thing that has gotten our entire family through this whole process — to quit asking why.”