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Distinguished Speakers Series - An Evening of Heroes and Inspiration

“An Evening of Heroes and Inspiration”

The Uncommon Friends Foundation’s Distinguished Speakers Series presents “An Evening of Heroes and Inspiration” on April 10, 2019, featuring three courageous military heroes who have 77 years of military service among them. Two were also captured, imprisoned and tortured, requiring them to summon immense courage and fortitude to outsmart captors and survive captivity. All three went on to successful careers of leadership and service to their country.

Honored speakers will be retired Army MG James L. Dozier, retired, Air Force Lt Col Gary L. Peppers, and retired Air Force CPT Wayne O. Smith. Hear each officer relate his own compelling story of strength and perseverance and how they survived very difficult experiences and eventually returned home and continued to serve others for good. The program will run from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Gale McBride Pavilion at the Burroughs Home & Gardens, located at 2505 First Street in Fort Myers, FL 33901, preceded by a social hour from 5 – 6 p.m. Appetizers and beverages will be served. For reservations, call Executive Director Jennifer Nelson at 239-337-9503 or at jennifer@uncommonfriends.org. Ticket prices are $50 for adults and $15 for students.

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James L Dozier portrait

James L Dozier

General Dozier is an international terrorism expert who served 35 years in the Army from 1950 to 1985. He was stationed in Italy in 1981 when he was kidnapped at gunpoint and held by terrorists of the Red Brigades who were known to maim and kill high value captives. He was rescued by a special operations unit of the Italian police after 42 days of interrogation and torture.

Gary Pepper

Gary Peppers

Colonel Peppers served 33 years in the Air Force (1971 – 2000 and 2009 – 2013) as a military pilot with over 4,000 hours of high-stress air combat missions in a wide variety of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and remote-controlled MQ-1V Predators in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the campaign to overthrow Gaddafi’s government in Libya in 2011.

Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith

Captain Smith flew 90 air combat missions over Vietnam before being shot down and taken prisoner on January 18, 1968. He was a captive for over five harrowing years in the notorious prison camp known as the “Hanoi Hilton” where he, Navy Lt. Cmdr. John S. McCain 3d, and countless others were malnourished and severely tortured. He was among 108 prisoners who were freed on March 14, 1973 during “Operation Homecoming.”

Major Gray Davis

Gray Davis

Uncommon Friends Foundation board member and past president Gray Davis, Agency Executive and Senior Vice President of McGriff Insurance Services will moderate the panel discussion. Major Davis retired after 21 years in the Navy and Marines, earning the Marine Corps Commendation medal as the Commanding Officer of the largest Enemy Prisoner of War facility in Marine Corps history.

Tequon Chatman

Applications Open for 2019 Scholarships

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2019-2020 school year student scholarships, which will be awarded to deserving individuals(including veterans, single parents, grieving youth, and the disabled) who are pursuing post-secondary degrees in education, law, technology, healthcare, technical, and other studies. The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2019.

Nominees must reside in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, or Hendry Counties, need financial assistance, excel in school and/or their personal lives, and possess high quality character traits.Scholarships vary in application requirements and commitments, duration and financial amounts, educational programs, and institutions.

Visit https://uncommonfriends.org/scholarships/opportunities/ for scholarship application forms and specific requirements of each scholarship. Completed applications and/or any questions should be directed to scholarships@uncommonfriends.org. Winners will be announced by early summer and will be honored at the Uncommon Friends Foundation’s Uncommon Evening on Thursday, November 14.

Uncommon Friends Foundation board member Susan Minaya chairs the scholarship committee that includes volunteers and community service organizations.

NEW! Cape Coral Kiwanis Club ($2,500) – for two disadvantaged students of any age to help defray tuition, books and supplies costs at any educational institution.

NEW! Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Hospitality Scholarship ($1,000) – for any age student seeking an education and/or career in the hospitality industry to help defray tuition, books and supplies costs.

NEW! HomeTech ($2,500)– for any age student to help defray the costs of tuition, books and supplies to attend a trade school.

NEW! Jared Basco Pay It Forward Scholarship–For any age student pursuing any career who demonstrates generosity through activities such as community service, financial giving or volunteerism that has impacted his or her life, and from which others may benefit.

NEW! Smith Family Trust Bonita Springs Charter School Scholarship ($1,000)–For students from Bonita Springs Charter School who demonstrate strong character and ethics in their everyday life.

NEW! Valerie’s House Scholarship for a Grieving Child – Two $1,000 Scholarships –For any age student who has lost a parent or sibling and participates in Valerie’s House’s grief support programs to help defray tuition, books and supplies costs.

NEW! Waste Pro Scholarship ($1,000) – for any age student to help defray the cost of tuition, books and supplies to attend any post-secondary school of their choice.

Berne Davis Future Teacher Scholarship ($5,000) – For a student enrolled in a program leading to a degree in education.

James F. Chelius, Jr. Scholarship for Disabled Students ($1,000)– For any age student with a disability such as dyslexia, hearing, sight, physical, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy who has ambition and positive character traits.

Florida Prepaid College Foundation Scholarship– Covers two years of state college tuition and fees for a freshman or sophomore who meets specific conditions and stays free of drugs and crime.

Health Sciences Scholarship ($1,000) – For any age student working toward a degree in a health field, (e.g., nursing, dental hygiene, technologist, or therapist) to help defray cost of books or education.

Hilliard Scholarships ($4,000) – Two, two-year scholarships for high school seniors residing in either Glades or Hendry Counties to attend Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).

Single Parent Scholarship($1,000) – For a deserving single parent who has overcome difficult obstacles to further his or her education and gain skills to enter the workforce.

Special Recognition Scholarship – Three scholarships for any age student to help defray cost of books or education for one semester.

Technical College Scholarship –For any age student to help defray costs of tuition, books and supplies at a technical college.

Veteran’s Scholarship ($1,000) – For a deserving military veteran of any age to help defray costs of books or education.

For more scholarship information, visit the Scholarships section of http://uncommonfriends.org/ or email scholarships@uncommonfriends.org.