Michael and Lauren Branch initiated the Branch & Cook Scholarships in 2019 in order to honor their respective deceased grandmothers. Each grandmother holds a special place in their hearts and, after some deliberation, the two decided to create a pair of scholarships in their names.
Michael highly values fitness and health and its impact on the individual and community. He holds health/fitness to be a highly regarded personal value and created Martha's scholarship to go to those in the community focused on increasing the fitness and well being of their neighbors. Those on the front lines assisting in preventing the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions exacerbated by lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles.
Martha was born in Pulaski, TN in 1934 to Joe and Almeater Williams. She spent most of the rest of her life in Louisville, KY raising her children and her grandson, Michael. She spent decades as a home care assistant for the elderly. Martha was active and lively until her death in 2015 due to cancer. In addition to working she loved getting out in her garden and playing with Michael's dog Rocky.
She left behind a legacy of love and compassion. Her greatest lesson to Michael was to always leave wherever you've gone better than before you got there.
Lauren is a strong advocate for the STEM fields and their importance in society. She created Nola's scholarship to help bring diversity into the field(s). As a woman she's seen first hand how difficult it can be for women and minorities to enter and navigate these worlds.
Nola was born in Dry Creek, KY in 1926. She resided in Topmost, KY where she was a Licensed Practical Nurse and raised her children. Nola loved making quilts, hand sewing such as embroidery, and eating candy. She was a loving and kind woman until her death in 2018.
She left behind a legacy of dedication to her family and kindness to all that knew her.