Local Veterans Organization Presents $28K in Scholarships

The Military Officers Association of America, Ark-La-Tex Chapter, presented scholarships totaling $28,000 to 11 graduating seniors at their annual Scholarship Awards Dinner Program at Barksdale Air Force Base June 5.  

“The Ark-La-Tex Chapter is proud to honor this outstanding group with scholarships, said Air Force Col. (Ret.) Mike Dilda, president of the local MOAA chapter. “They are the future leaders of our nation, and the chapter wishes them well as they pursue their educational and career goals.”

All scholarships are funded by chapter members who gave a little extra when paying their dues or directly funded a scholarship, as well as others who sponsor a designated scholarship.  The recipients have an average grade point average of 4.13 and average ACT score of 27.65.

The winners honored Saturday night were:

  • Kathleen Davis, Parkway High School, $2,000 

Attorney Patricia Miramon Academic Scholarship

Presented by Patricia Miramon and her daughter, Julia Todd

  • Katherine Emery, Neville High School, $4,000

Lt. Col. Lees Broome Memorial Academic Excellence Scholarship

Presented by Col. (Ret.) Mike Dilda

  • Sarah “Elizabeth” Gatti, Airline High School, $5,000

Lt. Col. George C. Finck Memorial Academic Excellence Scholarship

Presented by his widow, Janet Finck

Highest scholarship candidate

  • Aubrey Harris, Benton High School, $1,500

Maj. Daniel Marcalus Academic Excellence Scholarship

Presented by Col. (Ret.) Mike Dilda

  • Shane Hartnett, Benton High School, $4,000

Col. Steve dePyssler Memorial Academic Excellence Scholarship

Presented by Col. (Ret.) Mike Dilda

Second highest scholarship candidate

  • Colton Garrett Stacy, Haughton High School, $2,000

Lt. Col. John Collier Leadership Excellence Scholarship

Presented by Col. (Ret) Mike Dilda

  • William Finck, Hass Hall Academy in Fayetteville, Ark., $2,000

Col. Hunter Hackney Memorial Academic Excellence Scholarship

Presented by his son, David Hackney, and accepted by Janet Finck on behalf on her great grandson.

  • Ella Fletcher, McKinney North High School in McKinney, Texas, $2,000

Ark-La-Tex Chapter Academic Excellence Scholarship

Presented by Col. (Ret.) Mike Dilda and accepted by Helen Moore on behalf of her great granddaughter.

  • Grace Lowery, Loyola College Prep, $1,500

Dorothy Spriggs Academic Excellence Scholarship

  • Ethan Hacker, Los Rios Academy in St. McClellan Park, Calif., $2,000

Ark-La-Tex Chapter Academic Excellence Scholarship

  • Garrett Hacker, Los Rios Academy in St. McClellan Park, Calif., $2,000

Col. (Ret.) Mike & Mary Beth Dilda Academic Scholarship

Additionally, the MOAA Louisiana Council of Chapters awarded two scholarships:

  • Jayden Williams, $1,500

Marvin T. Stewart Memorial Scholarship

Presented by Army Lt. Col. (Ret). Lessie Griffith

  • Taylor James, $1,500

Marvin T. Stewart Memorial Scholarship

Presented by Army Lt. Col. (Ret.) Lessie Griffith

BAFB Color Guard presented colors, and chapter president, Col. Dilda, offered welcoming remarks.  The scholarship recipients who were able to attend were joined by parents, grandparents, and family members, and all enjoyed a buffet dinner. 

Two long-time key leaders of the MOAA Ark-La-Tex Chapter who were instrumental in the success of the scholarship program over the years passed away in 2020.  Retired Air Force officers, Col. Steve dePyssler and Lt. Col. George Finck, served their country with honor for many years, but they also committed to volunteer service to the community and ensuring young people were recognized for their scholastic achievements.  Col. Dilda spoke about the success of the scholarship program and how their commitment ensured its success enjoyed today by these young people.   

“This year’s scholarship recipients serve as examples and inspirations to us all,” said Dave Lay, secretary, MOAA Ark-La-Tex Chapter.  “The best investment in the future of our great nation is an investment in its future generations.  We sincerely wish you the very best as you begin this new and exciting chapter in your life, your college years.”

Membership in MOAA is open to active duty, former, retired, and National Guard and Reserve commissioned and warrant officers of the uniformed services and their surviving spouses.