Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Thank you to the UA community for keeping Ashley’s spirit alive

    Thank you to the UA community for keeping Ashley’s spirit alive

    Dave and I, Ashley Harrison’s parents, wanted to send a message to the teachers, staff, employers, friends and families of the University of Alabama.

    We appreciate the outpouring of love, support, generous gifts and events that have been displayed since the death of our daughter, a UA Senior and August 2011 posthumous graduate of the University, who died in the tornado on April 27, 2011.             Ashley is our love and always our light! Her smile will forever be your beacon of light and reminder of her huge heart to the many who befriended and loved Ashley there in Tuscaloosa.

    We have been so blessed that her giving legacy continues from you through her scholarships. In Alabama, the scholarships are University of Alabama and Delta Sigma Pi and in Dallas, Ursuline Academy and Ashley Harrison Pet Fund in memory of Ms. B and Josey who died in the storm with her (pets of Ashley Harrison and Carson Tinker).

    We would appreciate the opportunity to share with you and the public and give thanks to the incredible efforts of the following people and organizations.

    In coordination with The Tide in Texas – Alabama Alumni in Texas, Erin Murphy, Clair, Michael S., C’ann, Stewart, Lauren, Abby, Scott and Charlie White who created an August graduation event, as well as several others for raising money for Ashley’s scholarships, which gave her fund a leaping start to becoming endowed.

    We also thank Theta Chi Fraternity and Alex Odem for giving Ashley, in loving memory, the honor of being their 2012 Dream Girl –aka Sweetheart.

    Ashley was blessed to have so many great memories with Theta Chi and we thank them kindly for their lifelong kindness to our daughter! The composite of the Theta Chi gents with Ashley hangs in the halls of Theta Chi and the framed copy that was sent to us is cherished daily for remembering our daughter with their amazing full hearts!

    Thanks to Sigma Chi, Alex Dinges and Phil Claiborne for the incredible opportunity they made to join all philanthropic efforts of their Annual Sigma Chi Derby Days for The Ashley Harrison Memorial Scholarships, in coordination with Phi Mu’s Darbi Lou Todd and other Phi Mu Sisters of Ashley.

    To the entire group of fraternity and sororities of the University of Alabama who participate for the April 19-21 Derby Days dedicated to Ashley’s Scholarships – we thank you for your big hearts and giving warrior spirit.

    Both Alex Odem and Alex Dinges, longtime kind friends of Ashley, insisted we not say “no” to their efforts and allow them the opportunity to continue fundraising to build Ashley’s giving legacy.

    With Ashley’s sweet but short life, kind and genuine love and hardworking desire to be the best she could be, her scholarships will keep Ashley’s gigantic spirit with us forever!  We cannot begin to express the entire fullness of our hearts for what these great young men and women have done for the memory of their beloved friend and enormous efforts to continue the scholarship legacy in Ashley’s memory!

    Darbi Lou Todd, Keelin McMahon and many sisters at Phi Mu have dedicated the proceeds from the incredible cookbook, “Love in Our Kitchen,” towards the rebuilding of a torn home for a family in Alabama. They dedicated the book and utilized the recipes of Phi Mu sisters like Ashley and two other Phi Mu girls that passed away last year in car accidents. It was a tragic year for Phi Mu.

    Members of Sigma Chi also organized an April 18 barbeque benefiting Ashley’s scholarships, another shining example of compassion, courage and reason she believed in The Love In Our Bond motto at Phi Mu. Ashley loves Phi Mu, and so was proud to be a member.

    Delta Sigma Pi, Honors Leadership Fraternity, which Ashley was a selected member, continues to amaze us with national fundraisers in Florida, Texas and other cities across the south for the Ashley Harrison Memorial Scholarship at Delta Sigma Pi.        This scholarship is available in memory of Ashley to a leader in the fraternity across the southern province chapters of Delta Sigma Pi.

    To Carson Tinker, a survivor of the storm along with his roommate, Payton Holley: what love can we give to two such brave and courageous men. Carson, a UA senior and Alabama football player had to go through enormous healing of his own and contributed to a successful season and a BCS National Championship victory. Still, he has never stopped finding ways to cherish the memory of Ashley.

    From recovering from his own injuries, healing as he could from the loss of Ashley and their pups, he speaks at churches and business meetings, giving any proceeds from organization collections directly to Ashley’s Scholarships.

    He has coordinated that Ashley’s memorial bracelets be sold at The Shirt Shop in Tuscaloosa, created a lifelong plaque that stands above the stadium locker of player #51 in loving memory of Ashley and coordinated with Nick Saban and The University of Alabama to do a 2011 BCS National Championship Print with the artist Steve Skipper – called “Through the Storm,” with proceeds of the sale of the print benefitting Ashley’s scholarships.

    Carson has an unending desire to keep the love and memory of Ashley alive and we are forever grateful for his love! He and his roommate, Payton Holley, along with the Price and Johnson Families, owners of the field across from the tornado-torn home where Ashley and pups were thrown and died, and several of Ashley’s friends have kept an incredible memorial my brother, father, Dave and I started the moment we found out our daughter was dead.

    The home and debris field is a reminder of that tragic April 27 night but has become a beautiful memorial showing the world that the big giving heart, courageous spirit, ambitious mind, faithful soul and dynamic love of someone so little as Ashley is still with us in spirit and in all of our hearts daily.

    It helps us realize each day to live our life honorably to the fullest, creating enough beautiful memories that last a life time and beyond, touching someone’s heart and cherishing the precious gift of loving one another!

    We have no doubt, Ashley is so very proud of each and everyone of her friends for finding the courage to move on past this storm, remember the lives that were lost forever, find peace within themselves to grow and we know she, as well as we, are so deeply thankful for all these generous hearts expressing their love and kindness to her memory, her new legacy of giving to others through her scholarships and to the world.

    We thank you dearly and may all the beautiful memories they have shared with us stay in their hearts forever. Never stop reaching out to us, for you fill our hearts each day with your love!

    Darlene Harrison is the mother of Ashley Harrison.

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