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    Murray Ledger & Times (Ky.) interview on Hall of Fame nomination

    June 1, 2009

    To view the article in its original form, visit http://www.murrayledger.com/articles/2009/06/01/local_news/local01.txt

    Smith in running for ‘Keep Going' Hall of Fame

    Staff Writer

    Missy Jenkins Smith has overcome a lot in her lifetime and could soon be recognized in the Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame.

    Smith, 27, was a freshman at Paducah's Heath High School in 1997 when she became paralyzed from the waist down after another student fired upon a group of students and she was hit by one of the bullets.

    Smith says she eventually forgave the student doing the shooting and became a counselor at the Calloway County Day Treatment Center after earning a degree in social work from Murray State University. She often speaks to school groups and other organizations about her struggles to overcome the difficulties that befell her at age 15. Last year, she released the book, “I Choose to Be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor's Triumph Over Tragedy.”

    Energizer announced last week that Smith was one of the top 100 semifinalists in the search for the 2009 Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame Winner. According to a press release from the Energizer company, the “Keep Going” Hall of Fame was created in 2006 to “recognize the unsung heroes who inspire others with their perseverance and motivation, who live their lives with the same enthusiasm and can-do attitude as the Energizer Bunny.”

    Smith said that Bill Croyle of Erlinger, Ky. helped her write her book and told her about three months ago that he wanted to nominate her for the Energizer contest. She said he sent an essay in which he wrote about her story and some of her accomplishments since she was in high school, including her speeches in which she talks about bullying and encourages audiences to prevent violence in other places.

    “He was trying to say that I didn't want to quit and I wanted to keep living my life,” she said.

    The 100 semifinalists have been entered into a second judging phase and narrowed to a pool of 10 finalists. One winner will be chosen from the 10 finalists by a public vote via the Web at www.energizer.com/halloffame. Voting for the 10 Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame finalists will begin June 26, 2009.

    The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize plus a $5,000 donation to the winner's favorite charity. The winner will also be formally honored at an induction ceremony on Sept. 3 in St. Louis, Mo.

    Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and inaugural member of the Energizer “Keep Going” Hall of Fame, Cal Ripken, Jr., will there for the celebration.

    “I think it would be an honor to represent something like that,” Smith said. “I've tried to be determined and tried to make something of myself. Maybe I can help others who feel like quitting.”