On the 10th year anniversary of an unimaginable family event, Constance Anderson Collier has managed to turn tragic memories into optimistic hope.
The 2nd Annual Anita Mayo & Kids Scholarship Fundraiser event was held on the weekend of Oct. 12 at the Collier homestead in Monroeville. About 100 guests and family members celebrated the lives of Anita Mayo and her five children.
In October 2003, Mayo, who was just 34, died in a mobile home fire in central Pennsylvania, along with her children, and children’s father, Kevin Brechbiel.
Family members said fire investigators confirmed the deaths were caused by carbon monoxide leaks.
In honor of her daughter’s memory, Collier developed the Anita P. Mayo Scholarship Foundation, and has watched the organization develop tremendously two years later.
“Anita was a wonderful young mother and was very committed to education. Although, no one knows the deep hurt I experience daily, I felt compelled to honor my daughter in a lasting manner,” said Collier.
Scholarship funding assists student scholars and will help spur them onto successful careers, she said.
Aniya Hill is the 2013 scholarship winner. She attends Carlow University and studies nursing and business. Torron Mollett-Bundy was the second runnerup and is a criminal justice major at Clarion University of Pa. Joaquin Anderson, third runnerup, is a videography and music production major at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey.
The Black & White-themed catered affair featured a New Orleans-oriented fare, a live jazz quintet fronted by vocalist Iris Joy Brown, along with a classic R&B deejay.
(Scholarship donations may be sent to the Anita P. Mayo & Kids Foundation, P.O. Box 232, 322 Monroeville Mall Blvd., Monroeville, Pa. 15146.)
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