Local businessman creates scholarship for veterans at SPC - FOX34 Lubbock

Local businessman creates scholarship for veterans at SPC

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(Press Release)

There is one subject that all Americans agree without argument – the love and support of the United States military and its servicemen and women. If not for their bravery and sacrifice, life in this country would be chaos.

Local businessman Bill Cohen, owner/operator of McDonald’s of Levelland, has made it possible to honor servicemen and women with a special scholarship created for military veterans.

Cohen pledged to provide a yearly gift of $2,500 to the Board of Directors of the South Plains College Foundation to create the McDonald’s of Levelland Veterans Impact Scholarship to assist SPC students.

“I’m a veteran, too, and I wanted to give a scholarship to help veterans so that they can get the tools they need to go out into the big world and be successful contributors to society,” Cohen said.

Cohen served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot during the Vietnam War. The Kansas native attended the University of Kansas after high school. He spent five years on active duty and 25 years as a reservist. Cohen worked as a pilot for Eastern Airlines until he entered the McDonald’s Franchise Training Program. The store he was offered was located in Levelland.

In January 1995, Cohen moved to Levelland. He now has restaurants in Brownfield, Post, Slaton and Lubbock. He began a relationship with SPC through athletic sponsorships.

“I think South Plains College is good news,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the college, Levelland would be like any other little town. South Plains College contributes to the economic activity here and the way of life in this community.

“I like what it does and its motto ‘Dreams Precede Realities’ and I’ve always been involved since I moved here,” he said.

The first recipient of the scholarship is Brice Van Dam of Cisco. He served in the U.S. Marine Corp for five years where he was stationed in Hawaii and Japan. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University, and he is a student at SPC studying welding. He plans to obtain the Basic Processes Certificate and the Welding Technology Advanced Processes Certificate.

“I love it here at South Plains College because the teachers are so great and the classes are hands on,” he said. “This is coming from someone who also has attended Tech. I really like the classes because they’re not as big as Tech. And the teachers have more time to work with the students.”

Van Dam said he plans to own a welding metal fabrication business in the future.

For more information about ways to support scholarships and students at South Plains College, contact Julie Gerstenberger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at (806) 716-2020

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