Saturday, 12 February 2011

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Bremerton Base’s Annual

Lt. William “Willie” Spoon Memorial Scholarship


Updated October 6,  2010

   As a chapter of the United States Submarine Veterans (USSVI), Bremerton Base, chartered in late 1981, commenced a base scholarship program, awarding its first scholarship in 1982, one for $500.  Bev and Dene Rogers (charter member) were the leaders of this endeavor.  Bev’s leadership of the women of the base auxiliary in this area was above and beyond in her quest to solicit prizes for an annual raffle that still supports a greater portion of the scholarships granted.  Dene assisted her with preparing the raffle tickets and has since day one, been one of the top raffle ticket “salesmen”.  Bev fell ill to cancer in the late eighties limiting her involvement.  But Dene kept on charging with help from other members.  They brought up the number of scholarships to 4 or 5 eventually.

   Then along came a retired mustang lieutenant named Willie Spoon who joined the USSVI in 1993.  He was elected COB of the base and took on the leadership of the scholarship program. He coordinated a lunch schedule to induce restaurants to contribute prizes and was aggressive in getting others to help and recruit new base members, many, mustangs like himself. Leadership!

   Willie was able to increase the number and amount of the scholarships by pursuing the raffle and getting additional financial help from an annual fireworks sale brought on by then Base Commander and later USSVI National Senior Vice Commander Jim Foote. 

   In the last few years of Willie’s scholarship program leadership, he was also afflicted with cancer and passed away in late 2002. However, he worked on the program to the end.  Immediately the base voted to name the scholarship program after Willie.

   Then in 2003, we were gifted by a new manager of the Navy Federal Credit Union (Silverdale), associate member Jim Thompson.  Through his business he was able to solicit $5000 that he gave to the scholarship fund.  It was a super boost and we immediately raised the number to 8 annual scholarships.  By leveraging that donation and asking for others, we have created a situation that has the following years scholarship paid for one year in advance. 

   Through these many years, until just recently, the women's auxiliary, led by Mary Berg, would provide the after presentations' home made refreshments.  This was a significant contribution to the program.

   After Willie left, Fred Borgmann, John Gardner, Don Bassler and Bob Webster have kept the ball rolling as scholarship chairmen.

   This year, 2010, the raffle + donations exceeded $5,000 (nearly half in direct donations)

   In 2010, we were able to provide eleven, $1000 scholarships to children or grandchildren of qualified submariners.  Plus the base donated $1000 to the USSVI Charitable Foundation's scholarship program.

   This year, nearly half of our 296 members have contributed in one way and/or another. Some have been big time in time and/or cash. 


   From whence we came!

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