Blair Lee, center, smiles while getting a hug from Natchez-Adams Girls Softball League board secretary Bridget Wactor, left, after Lee received the Riana Flynn Scholarship during the league's closing ceremony at the Natchez High softball field on Thursday evening. Lee's mother, Ashley Wiggins, right, joined her daughter on the field. (Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat)
Blair Lee, center, smiles while getting a hug from Natchez-Adams Girls Softball League board secretary Bridget Wactor, left, after Lee received the Riana Flynn Scholarship during the league's closing ceremony at the Natchez High softball field on Thursday evening. Lee's mother, Ashley Wiggins, right, joined her daughter on the field. (Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat)

Archived Story

Blair Lee, accident survivor, receives Riana Flynn Award

Published 12:15am Friday, June 14, 2013

By Reina Kempt

The Natchez Democrat

 

NATCHEZ — Several ponytails and various neon-colored shirts filled the Riana Flynn Field at Natchez High Thursday evening as the Natchez-Adams Girls Softball League hosted their annual closing ceremony.

Every participating girl ages 3 to 17 years old got a chance to receive a team award front and center before their family and friends.

But one girl won the most prestigious award of the evening, and it would mean more to her than any other recipient in the past.

The announcer at the ceremony, Belinda Brashier, started the event with a prayer, a thank you to all of the league’s helpers and then a special announcement.

“In 2002, we lost Riana Flynn in a fatal car accident; this field is named for her,” she said. “Every year, we have given out a Flynn award. It usually is given to a senior, but this year, we’re giving it to a very special young lady — Blair Lee.”

And in the midst of not having a senior to give the $500 scholarship, it went to someone who could relate to Flynn the most.

On March 8, 2013, 17-year-old Lee was in a tragic car accident of her own.

“She sustained a lot of injuries,” her father, Evan Wiggins said. “She had a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures.”

After four days in a coma and 13 weeks in a hospital, Lee survived an accident that should’ve ended her life on impact.

Lee’s mother, Ashley Wiggins, said there is only one explanation as to how she survived.

“She is a miracle,” she said.

Evan said that the accident has been hard on the family, but they’re more blessed than anything.

“Every day is filled with therapies,” he said. “Physical therapies and speech therapies (because of brain injury). But to come from a coma and being able to walk is a blessing.”

League board secretary Bridget Wactor said she hated that the accident happened to Lee, but she and the NAGSL were there to help their family any way they could.

“We’ve been taking donations all year long, and we gave the family money after the accident,” she said.

Wactor said once realizing there were no seniors in this year’s league, she knew right away who would be the perfect recipient.

“There was no doubt in my mind that she would get the award,” Wactor said.

Wactor said noticing the similarities between Riana Flynn and her recipient sent a chill through her body.

She also said seeing Lee walk up to her to receive her award just three months after her near-death experience left her speechless.

“It is definitely a blessing that she’s here today, and we glorified God to keep her here,” Wactor said.

Evan said his family is entirely grateful for the family-type bond at NAGSL.

“We want to thank the entire community for their support,” Evan said.

Lee and her parents said they’re not sure what they will do with the scholarship money just yet, but their main focus is getting Lee caught back up in her school lessons.

Regardless of what the family does with the money, Ashley said seeing Lee walk is proof that there is a God.

And Brashier handed Lee the scholarship in assurance that Riana Flynn lives through Blair Lee.