“A rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it.” These words of wisdom from Dr. Cornel West, Professor at Union Theological Seminary, aptly describe life’s roadmap for Judith Hornor Savage. Even following her death, Mrs. Savage’s life and legacy are profoundly influencing a student at Davis & Elkins College who has discerned her calling to serve others.

Judy Savage spent her summers in Elkins as a child where she came to visit her grandparents, William and Eleanor Keim. Her grandmother graduated from Davis & Elkins College in 1919 and her grandfather was one of the founders of what is today Citizens Bank of West Virginia. Judy married David Savage and continued to return to Elkins in the summer as participants in the Augusta Heritage Center programs on campus where David served as photographer.

Living in the Cincinnati area, nursing was Judy’s calling. She established a reputation as an outstanding nurse and received the greatest satisfaction caring for children. Recognizing the need for a hospice program for children, Judy was instrumental in establishing a program at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati to provide support for children and their families at such a devastating time. She also worked beyond her country’s borders, caring for children in Africa and establishing a malnutrition ward at a hospital in Zambia.

Following Judy’s death in 2021, Mr. Savage approached Davis & Elkins College to establish the Judith Hornor Savage Memorial Scholarship to provide full tuition, room and board for a nursing student for four years. The first scholarship recipient was named this year.

Maxine Puffenbarger is a freshman nursing major at D&E. A native of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, while in high school Maxine participated in the Upward Bound program at D&E and fell in love with the people and the campus. Maxine grew up helping her stepmother whose ailments included diabetes. In high school she participated in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class that included clinical rotations at the local hospital as well as riding along on ambulance calls. This led to Maxine’s involvement with the EMTs at the Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department.

These early life experiences confirmed nursing was Maxine’s vocational calling. Her initial semester at D&E is going well and she reports that she likes her classes, especially anatomy with Drs. Stover and Brown. “This class is complex, but it challenges me with memorization and being hands-on in lab helps,” she explained.

Receiving the Judith Hornor Savage Memorial Scholarship was a true Godsend for Maxine and her family, as her father shared with me when we met in August. Maxine expressed her gratitude for both alumni and friends that care enough to provide scholarship support to make the high-quality education of D&E affordable to students regardless of their socioeconomic status. Recently, Maxine met Mr. Savage and expressed her gratitude and pride to receive the scholarship that represents the legacy of his wife. Maxine told him she was honored to pursue nursing at D&E and would dedicate herself to the profession just as Mrs. Savage had done.

How grateful I am to Judy and Maxine whose lives are living examples that there is no higher calling than serving others.

The journey continues….

Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College