ST. GEORGE — The Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League handed out $4,000 in scholarships March 10 at its annual dinner.
Three Marines and two Air Force junior ROTC cadets were recognized with the Ric Backman scholarship awards at the SunRiver Ballroom. The dinner is held in honor of Backman, a member of the detachment and SunRiver resident, who died nearly four years ago.
It was the funds from the sale of the special golf cart that Backman used that provided the starting point for the scholarship fund. Backman lost both legs in Vietnam. His wife Claudia said he used it every day, rain or shine, to play golf.
Gene Gregory, the scholarship committee chairman, told how they screened a number of applicants from both Southern Utah University and Dixie State University and narrowed it down to three. As it turned out, all three Marines were from SUU this year.
A special award is made for junior ROTC cadets in the senior class at Pine View and Dixie high schools. Dixie High’s Chaynee Worley and Pine View’s Wyatt Gutches were recognized with $500 scholarships.
The junior ROTC, or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, program is available for students in grades 9-12 who may be interested in enlisting in the military and those bound for universities and military academies.
The applicants for the Ric Backman Scholarship have to be either Marines or FMF Corpsman who served with the Marines. Standards are set by Marines for Marines so the competition is tough.
Sgt. James Dotterer, USMC, Sgt. Alleia Kelly, USMC, and Lance Cpl. McKay Leavitt, USMC, were each rewarded with $1,000 scholarships. Leavitt was unable to attend because of his weekend commitment to reserve duty so Caleb Vadnais, director of veterans services at SUU accepted the award on his behalf.
The Ric Backman Scholarship is a fairly new program but growing every year and is awarded annually at a special dinner held by Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League. To support the program, the detachment sponsors a silent auction at the dinner featuring upscale items. Many items focus on things that Marines might be particularly interested in. They also welcome any donations throughout the year.
Retired Col. Dave Waters, USMC, and present commandant of the detachment conducted the program for the evening.
This article was submitted by William G. Fortune, spokesman for the Marine Corps League Utah Dixie Detachment No. 1270.
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