Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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December 28, 2013

Scruggs balances challenges of school with passion for volunteering

BLUEFIELD — Allyson Scruggs has been volunteering ever since she can remember and continues to volunteer throughout her college career.

Scruggs, 23, holds a degree from Virginia Tech in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise and is currently enrolled in the Radford University nursing program where she will graduate in the Spring 2014 with a Bachelor degree in Nursing.

Scruggs hopes to be able to move back to the area to be close to her family and would love to obtain a position in the emergancy unit of Bluefield Regional.

Scruggs the daughter of David and Brenda Scruggs of Bluefield, Va., grew up in a home where volunteering was always a priority.

“ My parents always wanted me to be aware that there are always people everywhere, including our community who are going through hard times. They always wanted me to help these people if I was able. I think that they taught me to volunteer through example because they were always volunteering,” Scruggs said.

“My dad used to volunteer through the Rotary Club, our church and other organizations and my mom also volunteers with our church such as having luncheons and going on mission trips. She used to volunteer with our schools when we were growing up with PTA and she is also a nurse,” Scruggs said.

“Ever since I was young, my father would volunteer a lot and he would take me with him everywhere. I have picked up trash, handed out food at the Union Mission, cut coupons and cleaned at the Bland Mission,” Scruggs said.

In middle school Scruggs volunteered as a candy striper at Bluefield Regional. Scruggs still works at Bluefield Regional when she is home for the summer and over breaks from school as a nursing assistant and sitting with physatactric patients.

“Volunteering my time is a lot more personal than spending money on people. I  like getting to know the person and enjoy spending time with them and giving back,” Scruggs said.

In high school Scruggs went on mission trips with her church. In 2008 she went to Belize with her youth group at First Baptist Church in Bluefield, Va. to volunteer her time and helped with building a pre-school.

Scruggs has also participated in local ministry in the Appalachia area with her church youth group.

Scruggs volunteers her time for the Community Christmas Tree once a year which is sponsored by the Daily Telegraph.

“When I was young my dad would take my siblings and I to the Community Christmas Tree and I would do what I could to help. As, I grew older I began handing out bags, then shopping and now I help with the set up, Don Rice has really gotten me involved in helping,” Scruggs said.

She also helps shop for Angel Tree during the holidays when she is home from school.  

When Scruggs went to college at Virginia Tech she continued volunteering, despite her busy school schedule.

“I was a Hokie Ambassador, which is basically a volunteer program which you have to apply and get accepted to through the admissions office, helping give tours of the campus. I participated in that for three years and was also on the executive board,” Scruggs said.

Scruggs was also part of the Baptist Collegiate Ministries on campus where she volunteered her time on Spring Breaks to go to Myrtle Beach to work with Habitat for Humanity and Atlanta to work with the homeless shelters.

In between her classes and friends, Scruggs volunteered at the Virginia Tech Adult Day Services to give respite care to adults in need of services such as bathing, feeding and other help.

“We all need help at some point and if I am in the position to help then I want to do so,” Scruggs said.

Scruggs was also part of the Big Event at Virginia Tech. The Big Event is a student run community service effort that has grown into the second largest event of its kind in the nation. Every spring, thousands of students, faculty, and staff come together to complete nearly one thousand community service projects throughout Blacksburg, Christiansburg and the New River Valley, Scruggs said.

After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2012, Scruggs was accepted into the nursing program at Radford University.

“I am a big people person and it breaks my heart when I see people not feeling at their best and I just want to help them get better and back to normal. I get the opportunity to spend one on one time with people and that’s what I love. It’s not just all about treating the illness. Sometimes I think people just need someone to listen to them,” Scruggs said.

Scruggs balances school and volunteering like a natural.

“I am fortunate that a lot of these opportunities have presented themselves during holiday breaks, so I am able to do them whenever I am not in school. During the school year, I just try to plan ahead to make sure I have most of my schoolwork done beforehand. School is a big priority, but volunteering and helping people is also a big priority as well, so I make sure I make time for it,” Scruggs said.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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