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Fund helps educate victims' children

By Ann Defrange Published: April 17, 2005
Casey Heald is the youngest of five children of Ruth Heald. Their mother lost an eye in the bombing and cannot work. Last fall, Casey Heald enrolled at Oklahoma State University. Casey Heald was 8 years old when his mother's workplace was bombed and his family was changed forever.

Ruth Heald, in 1995 a 46-year-old employee of the Housing and Urban Development office on the eighth floor of the Murrah Building, lost one eye in the explosion and has been unable to work since. The outlook for her five children, Casey said, might have have been junior college and associate degrees and student loans.

But community leaders, in the months after the bombing, established scholarship funds for the children of Murrah victims. Donations arrived from all over the world, until millions of dollars were collected.

One Heald daughter, Sarah, is a senior at Tulsa University. Other siblings have used some of the scholarship money. Last fall, Casey, the youngest, enrolled at Oklahoma State University.

"I'm working on a 3.0 or better" this semester, he said. Yet, for a time after April 1995, he was lost.

He didn't want to go to school at all. One teacher reached out to the boy, became a mentor and a friend.

He wants to stay in Oklahoma and teach. He is majoring in secondary education; he hopes to become a history and geography teacher.

Many recipients, many choices
Cathy Nestlen of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, which became administrator for the funds, said the scholarships have been spent in Ivy League colleges and vocational training schools.

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