When Edward Fitzgerald talks about donations involving more than just writing a check, he’s not clowning around.
Since Fitzgerald graduated in 2013 from Tarrant County College (TCC) with an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Nursing, the former scholarship recipient has supplemented his financial support to the Tarrant County College Foundation’s general fund with generous donations of what he considers the ultimate gifts: time and talent.
Fitzgerald has consistently supported TCC’s nursing program in myriad ways, including promoting the program to prospective students at educational events; honoring nursing program graduates; teaching CPR classes; and, qualifying scholarship recipients.
“I appreciate and admire Edward’s continued commitment to TCC and our alumni, especially the nursing alums,” said Gloria Fisher, former alumni specialist and scholarship manager at the Foundation. “Edward attended almost as many nurse pinning ceremonies as I did. He is also a highly valued member of the Scholarship Selection Committee, as he was once a scholarship recipient himself, and has assisted with new Scholarship Committee member orientation.”
Fitzgerald sees his ongoing involvement with TCC as a way to show his deep appreciation for the academic foundation, financial assistance and counseling support he received while in TCC’s nursing program. The father of three is currently senior clinical coordinator at a local dialysis and kidney treatment clinic.
“Actually, I found my job through a job fair at TCC,” Fitzgerald said. “As part of the school’s work-study program, I had a chance to work in several types of medical facilities. I learned that I did not want to work in a hospital setting. But I saw there were a lot of other types of facilities where you could use your skills.”
Fitzgerald constantly flashes his ready smile and sharp wit, especially when he discusses his main passion. Since the early 1990s, individually and as part of an eight-member troupe, Fitzgerald has been a professional and volunteer clown at charitable, medical and service organizations’ events, especially those including children and seniors. He has spent more than two decades making children and seniors laugh at events sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas chapters in Dallas and Fort Worth; Children’s Medical Center of Dallas; and, Texas Department of Family Protective Services facilities in Dallas and Fort Worth.
He also has spent more than 25 years consistently visiting seniors in nursing homes, where he has performed at parties and social events, read, played games, judged contests and regularly called bingo games at a senior center.
Though he has had to curtail some of his clown activities because of family and professional commitments, Fitzgerald recognizes that the personal dedication that makes his clown work so successful is also the same motivation for his commitment to TCC and the Foundation.
I just felt that I could make a difference in people’s lives, especially kids, and that’s just all I wanted to doI believe that you can make a big difference by making them smile or taking their minds off a difficult situation.
"My training at TCC allowed me to do that, just as my clown activities help me to spread happiness and lessen their worries. After all, there’s no point in spending life worrying because you’re not going to get out of it alive anyway,” Fitzgerald said.
To learn how to support TCC students through a Foundation scholarship, please call 817-515-5277.