The $40,000 award was presented to Bledsoe on May 13 during the college’s convocation at Lady A Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park.
During her time at the university, Bledsoe demonstrated compassion for others when she launched the charitable organization Resources for the At-Risk in response to the shortage of PPE during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program expanded to include nine local nursing students who created care packages that included items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, washable or disposable masks, gift cards to local restaurants and cleaning products. With the help of her team, Bledsoe’s program delivered 130 care packages to our community’s most vulnerable groups and nurses.
She also devoted her time to the university by serving as a mentor for newly admitted nursing students and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Augusta University Department of Nursing Research.
Bledsoe’s compassion for others made an impression on Dr. Pamela Cook, interim associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Nursing, whose nomination letter states how her work ethic exemplifies what it means to be a high-quality health care provider.
“The Augusta community, the university and the College of Nursing was very fortunate to have a student as caring and compassionate as Brittany,” said Cook. “She had the drive, perseverance and incredible faith to provide people in our community the resources and knowledge to take charge of their health. She is definitely someone who will continue making a positive impact on the community.”
The $40,000 annual John F. Beard Award is endowed by William Porter “Billy” Payne and his wife, Martha, to a graduating Augusta University student who exemplifies caring and compassion in health care. Payne, the immediate past chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, established the Beard award in 1998 in memory of his father-in-law, who died of cancer in 1997. The award honors Augusta University President Emeritus Francis J. Tedesco and Beard’s physician, Dr. Mark F. Williams, a 1988 Medical College of Georgia graduate who treated Beard during his hospitalization at Augusta University Medical Center.