SCOTTSVILLE – Surrounded by educators and friends, Brian and Amy Doolin announced the establishment of the Gabbi Doolin Memorial Scholarship on Thursday at Allen County-Scottsville High School.
The scholarship was established through more than $50,000 in donations made by Brian Doolin’s employer, Leachman Buick GMC Cadillac, and community members who donated to the fund. It will be administered by the College Heights Foundation at Western Kentucky University. The first $2,000 scholarship will be awarded next month.
The scholarship honors the memory of 7-year-old Gabbi Doolin, a blue-eyed, blonde Scottsville girl whose body was found Nov. 14, 2015, in a creek in a wooded area behind ACSHS, where her older brother, Alec, was playing in a youth football game.
Amy Doolin had reported Gabbi missing 25 minutes before her daughter’s body was found. A Scottsville man is charged with murder in her death.
“I think Gabbi would have went on to college had she lived and graduated high school, so we wanted some other kid to have that opportunity to be what they wanted to be,” Amy Doolin said. “It’s something positive to honor her memory in a positive way, not by the way she died.
“She loved to read. Reading was her favorite part of school,” Amy Doolin said.
A short time before her death, Gabbi told her parents she wanted to be a football player when they asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up. Amy Doolin told her she should probably consider a different path, and that’s when she said she would like to be a teacher like her beloved first-grade teacher, Catina Cooper at the Allen County Primary Center.
Days after Gabbi’s death, Cooper described Gabbi as a child who “loved” and a girl who always had a smile on her face.
“Ms. Cooper had a big, positive impact on Gabbi,” Amy Doolin said.
Brian and Amy Doolin expressed their appreciation to the community for showing so much support to their family.
A large portion of the money raised for the scholarship fund – $41,000 – was generated through vehicle sales at Leachman, where $200 was donated to the fund for every vehicle sold during a month last year, Brian Doolin said.
“We definitely appreciate it,” he said of the donations. “With all the negative that’s went on, it’s great to get some positive.”
The scholarship will memorialize Gabbi for many years to come, College Heights Foundation President Donald Smith said during the ceremony to announce the scholarship endowment.
“We administer about 1,200 scholarship funds, and each one tells a very special story,” Smith said. “I never had the privilege of getting to know Gabbi, but from the stories I have heard from the family and the newspaper articles, she would have been a great Hilltopper. Unfortunately, we will not have the opportunity to see her as a Hilltopper, but this scholarship fund will honor her memory forever. Students a year from now, five years from now, 100 years from now, 500 years from now will still be getting the Gabbi Doolin Scholarship.
“This is due to the generosity of many in the community, our alumni and donors, and friends of people who knew Gabbi and the lives she touched in her short seven years but the leadership of this scholarship was given by David Jaggers from Leachman Buick GMC,” Smith said. “Leachman automotive gave a portion of their proceeds from cars sold last year to the fund. Many other alumni and friends also gave. The fund has already surpassed $50,000 and continues to grow each day.”
The way the endowment works is 4 percent of the interest earned will be awarded each year to an ACSHS student who has at least a 3.0 grade-point average, who is active in a local church and has completed community service hours in Allen County. The student must attend an accredited four-year college or university, Smith said. The actual principle of the endowment will remain intact so that the money can continue to grow.
“It’s fitting not just to cherish her memory but to honor her memory,” Allen County Schools Superintendent Randall Jackson said during the ceremony. “We have done this in many ways over the last 16 months, but today we are here to honor again Gabbi in a very special way.”
Kentucky State Police investigated Gabbi’s death and arrested Timothy Wayne Madden, 39, of Scottsville, six days after the homicide. Madden is charged with murder, kidnapping, first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy in her death.
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