CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Two hundred-thirty two golfers took to the green Nov. 1-2 to raise money for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
The golfers, traveling from as far as Florida and as near as the base here, tested their skills on the courses of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and Lejeune's Paradise Point.
"We started this tournament here five years ago. The first year we made $11,000, and last year we made $30,000," said Dianne Powell, a member of the national board of directors for the foundation and head coordinator of the tournament. "We know there is a definite interest from a lot of people, and the tournament helps bring it together to raise the money for the scholarships. We think the tournament raised an estimated $40,000 for the scholarship foundation this weekend."
Many notables attended the golf tournament. Marine Corps celebrities such as Brig. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson Jr., Maj. Gen. Robert M. Flanagan and Gen. William L. Nyland, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, swung their clubs in support of the fundraiser.
Golfing wasn't the only event raising scholarship money this weekend. Raffles were also held with items donated by various sponsors. The value of the raffled goods exceeded $7,000.
"The more money we can raise, the more scholarships we can give. Last year, every applicant who met the requirements received a scholarship," said Powell.
Fourteen golf tournaments, scattered across the country, will be held next year to raise money for the scholarship foundation.
The scholarship is designed for students who have potential, but may not stand out for tuition aid.
"The scholarship is designed to help those who may not be considered by other scholarship boards," said retired Brig. Gen. Michael C. Wholley, executive director of the foundation.
"We help young men and women to achieve their dreams and to reach their potential. While we have our share of terrific scholars, we also have a large number of recipients who, quite possibly, are not even considered by other scholarship organizations because they are 'ordinary;' they are not 'academically superior' or 'gifted.'
"What we believe, however, is that many of these 'ordinary' kids will develop into extraordinary human beings as they mature if - and here is the philosophy of the foundation - someone reaches out a hand and helps them, challenges them, tells them that they have the potential to excel, and gives them the necessary boost to achieve the next level," he said.
The scholarship was awarded to 981 students for the 2003-2004 school year. This is made possible by fundraisers such as the golf tournament. Many see this as a benefit of being related to a Marine, but the people who coordinate the fundraisers see it as more.
"We know the military family makes a lot of sacrifices," said Powell, who is married to a retired Army colonel.
The New Bern, N.C., native, added, "One thing they shouldn't have to sacrifice is their child's education. Sometimes it is the only scholarship they have. We see this as a way to say 'someone's got your back here at home while you are (protecting our freedom).'"
One program the foundation offers is an automatic $10,000 scholarship bond to every child who loses a parent who was a Marine or Navy corpsman attached with a Marine unit, in combat. The foundation sees it as their way of letting the children know their parent's sacrifices mean something to their country, said Powell.
For more information on Marine Corps Scholarship eligibility and application requirements, visit http://www.marine-scholars.org.