A Legacy in Action
Last spring in the May issue of Opportunities, we shared some amazing numbers from the Lyle Ingraham Scholarship Fund to illustrate just how much one person's legacy can impact a campus. This issue we want to introduce you to Johnnie Mehl, one of the recipients of the Ingraham Scholarship.
A native of Colorado, Johnnie grew up in view of the Rockies in Colorado Springs. She was born with femoral anteversion, a rare condition that causes the hips to grow incorrectly. Because of the condition, her legs, and in particular her knees, were causing pain and problems. As a result, she was in physical therapy from an early age to strengthen her knees and work to reduce the constant pain her condition causes.
Another complication caused by Johnnie’s condition was the inability to stand for long periods of time. “I always wanted to go into the medical field,” Johnnie says. But her condition effectively closed a door on her ultimate dream of becoming a surgeon. Interestingly, as she participated in her own physical therapy, she had the opportunity to talk with the therapists as well as to watch both the physical and occupational therapists at work. She became interested in this field and started researching it. “My mom is an occupational therapist and I was able to spend a day watching her,” Johnnie says. “I really fell in love with the occupational therapy side after that.”
Kirksville is a long way from Colorado Springs, so you might ask, “why Truman?” Well, Johnnie’s aunt and uncle are both alumni, and her two cousins are currently students here. So she was aware of Truman and came to campus for a visit. She fell in love with Truman and is very excited to be here.
Because she comes from a lower income family, scholarships are crucial in Johnnie's ability to be at Truman. Receiving the Ingraham Scholarship has allowed her the opportunity to finish paying her tuition and to have some time to join a medical research team. "Actually, one of the reasons I will be able to stay at Truman lies in keeping these scholarships. Coming from a lower income family that is the way I can continue my education," she says.
Johnnie's future plans are to earn a doctorate in occupational therapy and go back to Colorado where she says there is a need for those services.
Lyle Ingraham left a legacy gift and we see in Johnnie the fruits of that legacy. As she goes from Truman to pursue her passion for helping young people work through the physical limitations imposed by a traumatic event or hereditary condition, Johnnie puts the legacy into action.