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Thursday December 13, 2018

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Dandridge VFW Post, Auxiliary Endow Scholarship
February 28, 2018

VFW Post 3380 and Auxiliary have endowed a scholarship for the Walters State Foundation. The interest on the endowment will fund scholarships for veterans, allowing the endowment to continue in perpetuity. The post is located in Dandridge. 
“This scholarship will make it easier for veterans to pursue their academic and career goals, somewhat easing the transition process from the military to civilian life,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. 
“The veterans of Post 3380 have completed so many years of service to our country. Yet, they still want to serve and want to help younger veterans. The college is honored to receive this gift,” Miksa said.
When the post decided to endow a scholarship, doing it at Walters State was a natural choice, especially for Commander Russell Turner. He is an alumnus of the college and was actually recruited into the Army while working in the admissions office in 1986.
“For me, attending Walters State was a life-changing event. We also appreciate the economic impact Walters State has on the area and this was the best way to help a local veteran,” Turner said. He added that the scholarship would be awarded to honorable discharged veterans living in Walters State’s service area who do not have a degree.

Turner earned an associate’s degree in computer science and used those skills in the military. He served 20 years, rising from private to major. He served in Desert Storm, served in Bosnia as a peace keeper, deployed to Kuwait following 9/11, and deployed to Afghanistan just two years from retirement. He then taught Army JROTC classes at Jefferson County High School for nine years.
Zack Taylor had played a major role in getting this project off the ground and making it successful. Taylor joined the Air Force at the age 18 and was sent to Vietnam on the first of two tours. His second tour ended in 1970. He ended up serving 20 years in the Air Force and 12 years in the Tennessee State Guard.
“After my service ended, it was a long time before I wanted to be involved in anything related to the military. Eventually, I just opened up and found it rewarding to be part of this post,” Taylor said. 
He hopes the scholarship will provide not just financial assistance, but also encouragement to younger veterans.
“This scholarship will also let them know that other veterans care and are here if needed. I think it will give veterans a chance to step up and get a good start in their civilian lives. A degree or a certificate will mean so much in the job market,” Taylor said.
For more information about the Walters State Foundation, contact Chris Cates at 423-585-2618. For more information about VFW Post 3380, contact Turner at 865-406-0402.

In the picture: VFW Post 3380, based in Dandridge, has endowed a scholarship to assist future veterans in meeting their educational goals. From left are David Hayes, vice president of the Walters State Foundation; VFW Post Commander Russell Turner; Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State Community College; and Zack Taylor, one of the veterans who spearheaded the scholarship endowment project.