Batesville college students rally after friend’s loss

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published December 6, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 5, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
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Katie Crews, honorary Circle K International Club president at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, was still recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident when her husband, Tyler, was killed in a car accident in October. A fundraiser for the family will be held Saturday.

— When members of the Circle K International chapter at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville elected Katie Crews president in April, they didn’t know their leader and friend would soon face the biggest challenges of her life.

Shortly after classes began in the fall, Crews was in a car accident. With injuries that included a shattered pelvis and a broken leg, Crews had to be moved to Little Rock for treatment and physical therapy. Her mother and infant son, Austin, went to Little Rock to be with her, as her husband, Tyler, had to return to work. Back in Batesville, Tyler offered to attend Circle K meetings in Crews’ place, knowing how much the club means to his young wife.

“He was her right-hand man,” Circle K faculty adviser Mary Elizabeth Moore said.

In early October, Tyler was killed in a car accident in Evening Shade.

Though she had missed too much school to remain president of the club, Moore and Crews’ fellow students worked to have Crews named an honorary Circle K member and honorary president. They set to work planning a benefit to offset her medical costs.

“My first reaction [to the benefit] was to cry because I have never seen so much support or encouragement in my life until now,” Crews said. “God always lets people cross paths for a specific reason, and I think he allowed me to cross paths with CKI at UACCB to show me just how compassionate students are.”

On Saturday, a benefit concert and silent auction will be held in Independence Hall Auditorium at UACCB. The concert, which features Jeannie and the Guys, will begin at 6 p.m. There is no admission cost, and all donations will be given to the Crews family.

To the students organizing the fundraiser, the event was a no-brainer.

“We took this opportunity to help one of our own,” Circle K vice president Steven Reiman said. “We take care of the people we love and care about and see as family.”

The mission of Circle K International, a college-based service organization under Kiwanis International, includes working on international, national and local charity projects throughout the year. Crews was immediately drawn to the projects when she was encouraged by Moore to come to a meeting last year. Though Crews has had to drop out of the nursing program to recover from her accident, she plans to be back in fall 2013.

“I was blessed enough for the advisers and nursing staff at UACCB to save a spot for me to come back and still be able to chase my dream to become a nurse,” Crews said. “Without their support and encouragement to start back, I don’t think I would have wanted to go back just yet, but I can’t let them down now.”

When she returns, Moore said, Crews will be reinstated as president of Circle K.

“She is such an inspiring person,” Moore said. “She’s an honor student — dedicated to her work and to being a great mother. She’s a real inspiration to friends and other students here.”

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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