Montrose Doctor Whose Sister Was Lost on 9/11 Remembered Through Helping Graduates
MONTROSE — Since the creation of the Kathleen "Kit" Faragher Foundation a decade ago, nearly a dozen graduates throughout Colorado have been awarded nearly $55,000 toward higher education. The "Kit" scholarship is not only a gift of education – it’s the celebration of a life lost in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.
Kathleen "Kit" Faragher was 33 when her life was cut short – at a Janus Funds computer programing class she was attending on the 106th floor in the World Trade Center's North Tower – when hijacked American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the building.
In the two weeks following the attack Kit’s brother, Bill, drove with their sisters, Beth and Mary, from Chicago to Cleveland to New York to search for her, scouring hospitals and the morgue. Kit’s body was never found, and is still listed as missing to this day.
"It was pretty horrific," said Bill, an Interventional Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician who works for Western Slope Orthopedics and in Acute Rehab at Montrose Memorial Hospital.
Two years after the dust settled in New York, Bill and his wife Jana decided to keep Kit's mantra of "Live, Love, Laugh" alive by creating a scholarship fund for Colorado high school graduates going on to education.
"We wanted to carry on her memory,” said Bill, and what seemed most logical was “to create a scholarship. For Kit's memory we used ‘Live, Love, Laugh.’” When they created the scholarship, “We added ‘Learn’ to her mantra," Bill said.
Now in 10th year, Bill said the scholarship has exceeded his expectations. Originally one student received a scholarship; in 2012 and 2013 the foundation gave two $5,000 scholarships, both years.
"Without the scholarship,” Bill said, some recipients “have not been able to attend college," Bill said, remembering Montrose High School Class of 2012’s Erica Maestas, whose father thanked Bill for helping his daughter be the first family member to go to college.
"It's pretty amazing,” Bill said, that “through our loss we have been able to help out this many students and their families.”
"Kit is looking back at us smiling.”
Applicants must be Colorado high school graduates with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Bill said applicants aren't judged solely on grades, but on life experience and character, as well. Scholarships awarded can be used to attend college out-of-state.
This year the Kit Faragher Scholarship Foundation hosts its third annual dinner and wine- pairing fundraiser at the Bridges Golf Club in Montrose.
Jana Faragher said the event has been sold out the past two years, and this year’s is expected to be even larger. Tickets for the Sept. 7 fundraiser are $75 for adults; children are also welcome, at $25.
"It warms your heart, knowing you’re helping those people and hopefully they go on to have enriching lives," said Phuong Nguyen, a foundation supporter and Faragher family friend.
Live music and both a live and silent auction are planned, with prizes ranging from a week in the Bahamas to flowers to Bronco tickets.
"It's makes me proud to be in Montrose,” Bill said, “because of the outpouring of support for this. It's another event but it's a reflection of how generous the Montrose community is."
The first dinner took place in 2011, on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. During the festivities, a large rainbow appeared off in the distance.
"I felt her spirit. It was really awesome," Bill said, proudly adding his son’s name, Kitridge, honors his late aunt.
"She is still alive within us," said Bill.
To RSVP for the dinner, contact Jana @ 303/349-4325 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the foundation visit kitfaragherfoundation.org