Members of Cape Coral’s Korean War Veterans of Southwest Florida Chapter 155 established a scholarship endowment for military students attending Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW).
For the last nine years the chapter has funded $1,000 scholarships for a veteran or the sibling of a veteran from Southwest Florida who is registered at FSW, but this year the organization decided to establish a $15,000 endowment to augment its annual scholarship giving.
“Approximately five years ago it was voted on by the organization to raise funds to start an endowment in our chapter’s name, knowing that this would be on record long after we’re gone,” said Bob Kent, treasurer for KWVA Chapter 155. “The funds for this effort have come from several raffles, soliciting at local establishments such as Wal-Mart and RaceTrac, Aviation Day at Page Field, and several small grants from various corporations.”
On average, 400 students enrolled at FSW receive veteran’s benefits each year. While these students are each eligible for the $1,000 scholarship, the endowment paves the way for more of them to receive this vitally important assistance. Veterans at the college train in all variety of fields that benefit the Southwest Florida community.
“I am immensely thankful for the scholarships I received from the Korean War Veterans. They helped me meet my financial obligations in the trying times of the recession,” said FSW student and veteran Carlos Barahona, who explained that he was only able to find temporary work while going to school. “Some of these obligations included purchasing computer parts and peripherals, paper and ink, and anything involving transportation to and from school like gas, car insurance and maintenance.”
Barahona, who is in his final year of completing a Bachelor of Arts in Education at FSW, concluded that the scholarship played a major role in his success at the college and he was proud to be a part of a culture that cared for fellow comrades.
Arlene M. Knox, senior director of Development and Planned Giving at the FSW Foundation, said the endowment is an exciting chance to continue supporting our veterans.
“The annual scholarships have been so helpful for veteran-students at FSW and this endowment is not only ensuring that the giving continues, but that more of these students will be eligible in the future,” she said.
Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving more than 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW will debut its intercollegiate athletics program in the fall 2015. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.