Mary Mabins, Pensacola State College
The path toward a bachelor’s degree is much smoother for Pensacola State student Jonathan Snell because of a scholarship made possible by Veterans National Homecare donations.
After earning his associate degree in December, Snell was awarded a First Generation Matching Scholarship during the Spring 2020 semester. He is among several PSC students to benefit from a $5,000 donation Veterans National Homecare made to the College in 2019.
On Sept. 3, the company donated another $5,000 in scholarship funds to PSC for first-generation-in-college students. PSC alumnus Denis McKinnon Sr., along with his son, Denis McKinnon Jr., and Wade Wilson presented the First Generation Matching Scholarship donation to PSC President Ed Meadows. In 2019, the company pledged a total of $15,000 to fund scholarships. A third $5,000 donation will be made in 2021.
“When we formed Veterans National Homecare, we wanted to have the opportunity to make a difference in our community and plow some funds back into various causes that help veterans,” said McKinnon Sr., a U.S Marine veteran who served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded more than 30 personal combat decorations including a Purple Heart and a Meritorious Service Medal.
Andrea Krieger, PSC’s executive director of Institutional Development, said the 2019 and 2020 Veterans National Homecare donations were matched by First Generation Matching Grant Program funds. She added donations will be used for first-generation students with a preference for veterans or family members of veterans.
“The match tripled the $5,000 donations (each year) to $15,000 for a total impact of $30,000 for 2019 and 2020,” she explained. “These funds have and will provide a lot of money in scholarships for Pensacola State students.”
Snell who has a 3.74 grade point average used his scholarship to purchase materials and supplies for classes.
“By awarding me this scholarship, PSC has lightened my financial burden. The scholarship allowed me to focus on my coursework and not have to worry about how I was going to come up with extra money,” he added.
Snell is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business and Management with a concentration in Human Resources and plans to earn his master’s degree. He works for Student Transportation of America ─ a company that provides school transportation across the U.S. including the Santa Rosa County School District.
“I eventually want to move to the HR side and become one of the company’s corporate HR directors,” said Snell who has been with Student Transportation of America for three years.
His wife, Laurel, also is enrolled at PSC as well as the couple’s daughter, Hunter, 19. The Snells also have a 14-year-old son, Nathan.
Meadows expressed gratitude to Veterans National Homecare for the donation.
“Without generous donors such as the McKinnons and Mr. Wilson, the dream of higher education would remain just that for many of our students. At Pensacola State, we are in the business of improving and transforming lives, your donation will help us continue that mission,” he said.
Snell said the scholarship has encouraged him to help future students.
“The generosity of Veterans National Homecare and Pensacola State College has inspired me to find a way to give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help other students achieve their goals just as I have been helped,” he said.
The First Generation Matching Scholarship is FAFSA-based gift available to full- or part-time students with a demonstrated financial need. Recipients also must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien. Scholarship recipients also must meet other requirements.
PHOTO: Pensacola State College received $5,000 in scholarship funds from Veterans National Homecare for first-generation-in-college students on Sept. 3. Pictured are, from left, PSC President Ed Meadows; Andrea Krieger, PSC executive director of Institutional Development; Denis McKinnon Jr. with Veterans National Homecare; Courtney Reed, PSC Foundation Senior Administrative Assistant; Wade Wilson and Denis McKinnon Sr. with Veterans National Homecare; Mikenzie Francis, PSC Foundation Donor Relations Coordinator; and Laura Hill, PSC Foundation Donor Relations Manager/Events. Pensacola State College photo