Family remembers nursing student killed in tornado - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Family remembers nursing student killed in tornado

Jennifer Hallmark's seat was empty as her daughter accepted her diploma at Snead State's graduation. Jennifer Hallmark's seat was empty as her daughter accepted her diploma at Snead State's graduation.

It was one of the most heartbreaking stories on a day filled with heartbreak.

Five members of the Hallmark family lost their lives when a tornado roared through the Ruth community near Arab.

One of them, Jennifer Hallmark, was on the verge of attaining a dream when this nightmare intervened. She was attending Snead State, pursuing her nursing degree and she was just days away from graduating.

Hallmark was an outstanding student, with the highest grade point average in her class during the two-year program at Snead State in Boaz.

One of her instructors, Lisa Brock, said Jennifer had a "Grade A" personality to match.

"She always had a smile on her face," said Brock. "A laugh you still remember."

Jennifer and her sister-in-law, Mandy Garmany, went through the nursing program together. Garmany said Hallmark had the knowledge, but also had the compassion to be a great nurse.

"She was always caring and had a heart for those that needed help," said Garmany. 

They were set to graduate the very next week. 

"I can remember praying and not even having the words to say," said Garmany. 

The graduation ceremony was bittersweet as Hallmark's seat was empty. Her daughter, Ari, accepted Jennifer's diploma for her.

"It was very hard. It was great, but very hard," remembered Garmany. 

Hallmark's memory will live on at Snead State in many ways. They've established a scholarship for nursing students in her memory.

"She was back for herself to make a difference in people's lives," said Brock. "And in this way, she will continue to make a difference."

They're holding a 5k run Saturday morning, April 28th on the campus to raise money for that scholarship fund.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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