The Department of Florida Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has created an endowed scholarship at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) for combat veterans taking classes at SCF. The $25,000 endowed scholarship was a VFW project led by Amber Putnam, immediate past state commander.
Putnam chose a year-long service project and decided to focus on the future for younger veterans. She chose SCF because she wanted to focus on a college that had strong ties to the community. She was impressed that SCF had three campuses, making it convenient, and also saw Manatee and Sarasota as a good area for returning veterans.
“One of our core causes is to help veterans reintegrate after being on the battlefield,” Putnam said. “They are the future of VFW and the community. We want to offer them help in getting an education so that they can continue to contribute.”
Putnam worked with a team of VFW members, but had enormous help from VFW posts in Manatee and Sarasota counties. She said Mike Clinesmith of Post 9226 in Ellenton helped make sure they met their $25,000 goal, even passing the hat at the very end when they were short.
“I felt really honored and humbled that everyone else wanted to see that goal met,” Putnam said.
To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must be enrolled a minimum of six semester hours at SCF, with a minimum 2.25 grade point average and pursuing an Associate in Arts, an Associate of Science, a Bachelor of Applied Science or a Bachelor of Science degree. They must be an honorably discharged veteran who is eligible for VFW membership, be accepted or enrolled in a public service program at SCF and be a Florida resident.