The Maryhurst Alumna of the Year award is bestowed upon a woman who represents a lifetime commitment to success. Recipients of this award have overcome obstacles and have triumphed over childhood abuse and neglect to become attorneys, business owners, carpenters, models, educators, artists, nurses, police officers, foster parents, and judges, as well as wonderful mothers, daughters, sisters, and role models in their own right. We salute them, thank them, and celebrate their personal journeys of hope. Please join us in celebrating this year’s recipient as well as all those who have been honored before her.
2017 RECIPIENT TAMMY SMITH
Born in Indiana, Tammy started her long journey in foster care at the age of eight because of severe abuse. She was sent to Maryhurst at 15 when Indiana officials couldn’t keep her from running away. “Maryhurst was the first place where I really felt loved,” she shares.
Tammy quickly progressed through Maryhurst’s program and met Pam Rice, whom Tammy describes as “the first adult woman I ever felt close to.” Pam became attached to Tammy as well and convinced the friend with whom Pam shared a house that they needed to become Tammy’s foster home. Pam’s friend, coincidentally, was Judy Lambeth who became Maryhurst’s CEO in 1990.
Foster care was not easy for Tammy because the effects of her early childhood trauma ran deep. Tammy discovered she could run away in Louisville just like she had in Indianapolis. Still, Pam and Judy kept bringing her home, and this is where Tammy says she learned the true meaning of “family.”
As a young adult, Tammy moved back to Indiana, but when her son, Brandon, was born, she returned to Louisville to reconnect with the people who made her feel grounded – Pam and Judy. Brandon would later be joined by a brother (Conner) and sister (Taelyn).
In 2010, Pam and Judy learned that Kentucky allows a person to be adopted as an adult, and they wanted to make sure there was a legal connection to Tammy and her children as well as the heart connection that was already in place. So, on May 19, 2010, 35-year-old Tammy officially became part of the amazing family that still today loves and supports her.
Tammy now works as a registered nurse and hopes to secure a job one day soon in healthcare administration.