Bedford Women’s Club awards scholarship to former police woman

Some of the ladies at the Bedford Women’s Club luncheon held May 17 at the Manchester Country Club were unaccustomed to seeing Jessica Humphrey – a 10-year veteran of the Bedford Police Department – wearing fancy duds instead of a gun belt and uniform.

Humphrey, elegantly clad in beige, shared the fact that she recently left her police position as the school resource officer at Bedford High School to spend more time with her young son and pursue advanced studies. She is building upon a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice by aiming for a master’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University.

Humphrey – the event’s guest of honor – thanked the members for a BWC scholarship of $2,500, funds earmarked for a nontraditional student selected through the club’s scholarship program, which was founded in the 1940s. It has assisted a multitude of high school scholars and others of varied ages who are Bedford residents. Two high school seniors also will receive scholarships this year. Pending an official announcement, the pair thus far is unnamed.

High school seniors heading for college are the traditional recipients. However, nontraditional recipients also are among those granted funds. Each participant completes an application process that imparts to the scholarship committee details about the student’s aspirations, needs and accomplishments. Application forms are secured at guidance counselors’ offices or from the BWC website, www.bedfordwomensclub.org.

“I am so happy and grateful to be one of the recipients for this year,” Humphrey said. “Thank you all so much.”

In addition to the scholarship funds, the club has awarded grants of varying sums to a number of groups in the community. Included are the Girl Scouts, Catholic Charities food bank, the Bedford Fire Department, UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center, Stand by Me, and Friends of the Town of Bedford Cemeteries.

Members at the BWC luncheon gave the club’s operating budget a boost by hosting a raffle of 23 gift baskets filled with items reflecting a specific theme – gardening, wine culture, cooking, travel, etc. Members contributed all the components and tended to the fancy wrappings.

Guests lingered after lunch, and talk soon turned to a popular coming event – an annual garden tour open to the public and to all ages. This year’s event, the “Follow the Blooms Garden Tour,” is sponsored by the Bedford Garden Club and the Bedford Women’s Club. The tour will take place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, July 7, and will feature a variety of area gardens with well-tended plantings, unusual garden accessories and unique water landscapes.

The garden tour will begin at Peter Woodbury School, 180 County Road in Bedford. The school boasts a bountiful garden, tended this year by a total of 70 students and supervised by Mindy Beltramo, Connie Roberge and Anne Southwell. The students grow a diverse array of vegetables donated to The CareGivers Inc., a Bedford organization whose volunteers help the frail, elderly and disabled maintain their independence.

To purchase advance garden tour tickets at $17 each by June 27, readers may send a check payable to the Bedford Women’s Club (with “Garden Tour” on the memo line) to: BWC, c/o Jackie Lucas, 31 McQuade Brook Road, Bedford, NH 03110.

On the day of the tour, July 7, tickets will be available at the registration tent at Peter Woodbury School, starting at 10 a.m. A ticket/tour booklet, including a map, is included with admission to the gardens. Local artists will be creating new works at various gardens throughout the day.

In addition, members of the Bedford Craftworkers’ Guild will offer special garden-related crafts for sale during tour hours. Proceeds from the event will help each club carry out various community projects.

According to Sue Fahey, chairman for this year’s garden tour and a member of the Bedford Garden Club for some 12 years, this event promises to the best one ever. She noted that an added perk is the garden tour booklet’s discount tickets for products from several local garden centers.

Loretta Jackson is a freelance writer residing in Merrimack and a member of the Bedford Women’s Club.