It was fitting that technology played a part in reconnecting Julie Faul and Mary Porter after they had last seen or spoken with each other.
Porter had been Faul’s softball coach at Rebul Academy, where Faul was student body president and named a member of the Hinds County private school’s 1990 Hall of Fame. Faul later earned an associate degree in the emerging field of computer science at Hinds, taking classes over a number of years, then went on to work in the college’s IT department for 13 years.
“As life often does, we lost touch – but then thanks to Facebook, we reconnected,” Porter said. “When I asked her in a message how she was doing, you could have blown me over with a feather. She responded, ‘I’m doing great… I have ALS.”
Faul worked her IT job at Hinds until 2008, not long after some health issues were diagnosed as the debilitating neurodegenerative disease. During a nearly 14-year battle with the disease and its effects, she became an advocate for ALS awareness. She founded “Julie’s Jewels,” a team of friends, family members and other supporters who participated in several ALS fundraisers, including Hinds’ entry into the Ice Bucket Challenge series of fundraisers that swept the nation during the summer of 2014.
A quick pose for the camera before the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraiser for ALS.
She died in 2020 at the age of 47. During Faul’s years of advocacy amid painful daily struggles, Porter became “part of the family,” for Faul, her mother, Patrisha, and her daughter, Sarah Drennan.
“When Julie’s health took a turn, I immediately told her I would do everything in my power to ensure she would never be forgotten,” Porter said. “Thus the seed for the Hinds Community College Julie Faul Endowment Scholarship was planted.”
Porter and others created the scholarship for eligible Information Technology students to honor Faul’s career in the field. This past June, a golf tournament was held at Eagle Ridge Golf Course to raise funds to endow the scholarship. The event was just the first of many to come, she said.
“As her condition went on, she became very interested in education and wanted to do something to help a needy child,” said her mother, Patrisha. “The scholarship will help students get a start in life. Hinds is such a good place to do that.”
Eligible students must be a freshman enrolled full-time at the Raymond Campus and a Hinds County resident. They must be enrolled in an IT program such as Computer Networking, Computer Programming or Cybersecurity and maintain a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA in high school and/or Hinds, among other routine requirements.