Marines hand out $4,000 in scholarship awards

CEDAR CITY–The Marines of Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League handed out $4,000 in Scholarship awards at its annual dinner. Three Marines and two JROTC Cadets were recognized with scholarship awards at the SunRiver Ballroom on March 17.


The Ric Backman Scholarship dinner is held in honor of Ric Backman, a member of the Detachment and SunRiver resident, who passed away nearly four years ago. It was the funds from the sale of the special golf cart that Ric used that provided to starting point for the scholarship fund. Ric had lost both legs in Viet Nam and according to Claudia, his wife, he used it everyday rain or shine to play golf.


Gene Gregory, the Scholarship Committee Chairman, told how they screened a number of applicants from both Southern Utah University and Dixie State University and narrowed it down to three. As it turned out, all three Marines were from SUU this year.


A special award is made for senior JROTC Cadets at Pine View and Dixie High Schools. Dixie High School’s Chaynee Worley and Pine View’s Wyatt Gutches were recognized with $500 scholarships. The applicants for the Ric Backman Scholarship have to be either Marines or FMF Corpsman that have served with the Marines. Standards are set by Marines for Marines so the competition is tough. Sargent James Dotterer, USMC, Sargent Alleia Kelly, USMC and Lance Corporal McKay Leavitt, USMC were each rewarded with $1,000 scholarships. Lance Corporal Leavitt was unable to attend because of his weekend commitment to reserve duty so Caleb Vadnais, Director of Veterans Services at SUU picked up his award for him.


The Ric Backman Scholarship in the Detachment is fairly new program but growing every year and is awarded annually at a special dinner held by Utah Dixie Detachment 1270, Marine Corps League. To support the program, the detachment sponsors a silent auction at the dinner featuring upscale items. Many items focus on things that Marines might be particularly interested in. They also welcome any donations throughout the year. Col. Dave Waters, USMC Retired, and present Commandant of the Detachment conducted the program for the evening.

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