Lt. William “Willie” Spoon Memorial Scholarship
Updated October 1, 2017
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
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.
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 (2007), 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 went on eternal patrol in 2002, Fred
John Gardner, Don
Bassler and Bob Webster
have kept the ball rolling as scholarship chairmen.
2007, John Gardner has led the scholarship program and kept it up
with his tenacity to offer as many scholarships available as possible.
2016, the base has been able to provide 6 to 11, $1000 scholarships each
year. This was achieved by the annual raffle, an annual Dolphin
Dash at Bangor (led by John) and a General Fund transfer.
The general fund transfer was made possible through an annual Fireworks
difficulty in getting members to volunteer to man the fireworks stand in
2015, a decision was made to disengage from fireworks sales. A policy
was in effect that the budget provided funding for the following year
that ensured that 2016 Scholarship awards would be similar to the
Year after year, nearly half of our 259 members continue to contribute
in one way and/or another. Some have been big time supporters in time
From whence we came!