By JEAN JONES
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
At the 6th Annual Trooper Shawn Blanton Memorial Golf Tournament, held on June 14 at the Sequoyah National Golf Club, the family of Shawn Blanton recognized seven female athletes from across western North Carolina as recipients of the Shawn Blanton Scholarship. This athletic scholarship was established in 2008 to keep Shawn’s memory alive for it was his love of fast pitch softball that inspired his family to set up the scholarship program in remembrance of his life.
Born and raised in Cherokee, he was the first EBCI tribal member to serve as a North Carolina State Trooper. On June 17, 2008, he was shot during a routine traffic stop and was rushed to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville where he later died.
At the time of his death, Shawn had just finished his first year as the head coach for the Smoky Mountain High School JV softball team.
“I think the scholarship would make Shawn proud,” David Blanton, Shawn’s father, said. “He liked coaching and helping people out, and in a way he’s still doing both!”
To qualify for this scholarship, the contender must be a female athlete who is a member of her high school softball team. She must be a high school senior and have been accepted into a 2 or 4 year school.
At the tournament, the Shawn Blanton Scholarship awarded each recipient a $1,000 scholarship. They are:
- Brianna Smith, Cherokee High School
- Kaylie Leek, Hayesville High School
- Taylor Galyean, Pisgah High School
- Tate Sutton, Smoky Mountain High School
- Jillian Gleeson, Asheville High School
- Jessica Winchester, Swain County High School
- Tori Golden, Hiawassee School.
To date, 23 female athletes have received scholarships totaling nearly $25,000.