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Houstonians Show Love to the Marines in More Than $1.4 Million Ways

This Scholarship Foundation Has a Truly Noble Mission

BY // 10.27.19
photography Wilson Parish

What: The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF) Awards Dinner

Where: The Marriott Marquis

PC Moment: This might not be a nonprofit that comes immediately to mind when contemplating Houston’s charitable scene but the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is an impressive, patriotic organization that on this night raised more than $1.4 million for college scholarships for military children.

More than 400 gathered on the 10th anniversary of the awards dinner to salute the Marine Corps and the foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships.

Among the numerous retired military brass in attendance was Gen. John Kelly USMC (ret.), former Commander of the U.S. Southern Command and President Trump’s former chief of staff.

Among highlights was presentation of the National Anthem by Joe Everson, who sang the Star Spangled Banner while painting the iconic image of Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. Everson is credited with being the only National Anthem performance artist in the country.

KTRK Channel 13’s Jessica Willy emceed the program that included presentation of the Service Above Self Award to Kelly and Bill Von Gonten and the Semper Fidelis Award to Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer USMC (ret.).

No small portion of the proceeds was raised during the appeal, made in support of the newly established Chance Phelps Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund. Lance Corporal Phelps was killed in the line of duty, his story the focus of the HBO movie Taking Chance.

Applause, applause for Lone Star State campaign co-chairs Rita and Chuck Scianna and Cara and Knox Nunnally along with military co-chairs Sheri and Lt.Gen. Steven Hummer USMC (ret.). Funding from the dinner helps support 195 scholarship recipients in Texas and who attend 55 in-state colleges, universities and technical schools. The foundation was founded in 1962. Since then it has awarded $135 million in scholarships to more than 40,000 recipients.

PC Seen: MCSF president and CEO Lt.Gen. Robert Ruark USMC (ret.), Karen Kelly, Kelsey and Brett Knowles, Katherine and Jason Ormsby, Joanna Marks, Dr. Michael Strobl, Gretchen and Jeff Mack, Beth and Tyler Johnston, Kara and John Deis, and Anita and John Griffin.

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