Remembering Kristen: Runyon scholarships go to four local students

Barb Runyon remembers the condolences and notes from her late daughter’s patients like it was yesterday.

“I just couldn’t believe patients that only knew Kristin briefly would respond in that way,” Runyon explained. “It showed me what kind of impact she had on her patients.”

It has been 11 years since Kristin Runyon, a former nurse at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, was tragically killed. Her memory lives on however through generations of caregivers who embody her strength, determination, and grit.

Four local nursing students have received scholarships in memory of Kristin as they work to continue her tradition of compassionate care.

Four area future nurses were recently awarded the Kristen Runyon Memorial Scholarship to support their nursing education.

They are:

  • Caeley Etter-Keller of Chambersburg,
  • Sarah Wise of New Oxford,
  • Mackenzie Weagley of Waynesboro, and
  • Stacey Lawson of Shippensburg.

“Caeley, Stacey, Mackenzie and Sarah possess the qualities and attributes of professionalism, compassion, servant leadership and passion for nursing that best represent Kristin’s qualities and legacy of compassionate care,” said Runyon, who helps to spearhead the scholarship committee.

The scholarship

The scholarship was created in memory of Runyon for students enrolled full-time in a registered nurse education program. Applicants must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.8 and live in Franklin County or the surrounding area.

The scholarship fund has supplied $66,000 to assist 21 nursing students since its inception in 2011.

Beth Runyon credits the generous contributions from family, friends, co-workers, former patients and the community at large with the scholarship’s success.

“We lost one great nurse, but this scholarship honors Kristin’s legacy by allowing us to help generations of great nurses,” she said..

The recipients

Caeley Etter-Keller

“This is an absolute honor and privilege to receive this scholarship,” said Caeley, a Wilson College nursing B.S.N. degree student.


Caeley has been volunteering at Chambersburg Hospital since she was 13. Her passion for serving others supports her drive to become a trauma and flight nurse.

“I have a strong desire to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to provide exceptional care,” she said. “This scholarship moves me one step closer to my goal.”

Sarah Wise

Sarah’s inspiration to become a nurse began when she witnessed a team of medical professionals care for her grandmother. She is a nursing student at York College.

“It led me on the path I am on today,” she said. “This award will help me fulfill my dream. I want to be able to help people in need and provide the best quality care and experience that they deserve.”

Mackenzie Weagley

Mackenzie also felt honored to be selected as a Kristin Runyon Memorial Scholarship recipient. She believes in the value of giving back to the community where she grew up.

“This scholarship benefits me by decreasing the cost of college while allowing me to focus more on my studies and continue my academic achievements,” Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie is currently pursuing her nursing B.S.N. degree at Penn State Mont Alto. After completing her nursing degree next spring, she hopes to enroll for her master’s degree. She wants to become a labor and delivery nurse.

Stacey Lawson

While Caeley, Sarah and Mackenzie are following the path of traditional students, Stacey is chasing her nursing dreams as a non-traditional student.

It was the right time last year to enroll at Gettysburg HACC as a nursing degree student, the 46-year-old mother, who raised two daughters, said. She currently works as a tech in the ER at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital. Her husband, a flight nurse on Life-Net 8-1, not only supports her professional aspirations, but serves as a true inspiration.

“I will be the first in my family to graduate college,” she said. “This scholarship means a lot to me in helping me make that happen.”

She said she is mostly continuing her education for her family. But she also wants to become a respected nurse that cares deeply about her patients.

READ: Franklin County: Six local grads get nursing scholarships