ANSWERING THE CALL TO OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN
When given the opportunity to expand their Scholarship offerings in the Coachella Valley,
Al and Cathy Annexstad wanted to recognize veteran Scholars to thank our service men and women. They believe veterans are a vital national resource and that they too deserve to receive a higher education. Thus, five years ago, The Annexstad Family Foundation created a Veteran Student Scholarship with College of the Desert (COD) in Palm Desert, Calif.
To date, the Annexstads have donated $75,000 in renewable annual Scholarships to award veteran students studying Public Safety, Registered Nursing, Education, Business or general education in preparation to attend a University of California or California State University campus.
“We are honored that the Annexstads have taken such an interest in COD,” shares COD Foundation Executive Director Catherine Abbott. “Education is the answer to life’s biggest hurdles; it’s a tremendous resource you can never take away. The cyclical effect that education can have on a family and a community is a gift that lasts a lifetime.”
“Our Bighorn Golf Club Charities Veterans Resource Center provides a valued touchpoint to strengthen these hard-working Scholars,” she adds. “Veterans are transitioning from combat into civilian life, and navigating their new normal can be overwhelming.”
Al and Cathy add, “By creating a safety net, we acknowledge what veterans have sacrificed for our country. Our focus is to provide personal connections, emotional and physical resources and needed financial support.”
The Annexstad Family Foundation Hope & Inspiration Scholarship
The success of COD’s Veterans Scholarship inspired the Foundation to develop a special Hope & Inspiration Scholarship. Following their current guidelines, the Foundation established tuition assistance for a worthy Scholar possessing the academic potential to excel in their field of study and achieve their associate’s degree within two years. The ideal candidate is an exceptional citizen, one who demonstrates a high moral character and the desire to contribute to the betterment of society.
COD, along with the Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley, selected the first recipient. Admirably resilient, Julio Mendez grew up sleeping on the floor of his single mother’s apartment, with no means of personal transportation. “He is not letting his life’s beginnings define who he wants to become as a world-renowned architect,” notes Al.
Mendez shares, “I’m excited to bring a new style to homes, something that has never been done before, where people are curious to see the inside. My education will instruct me, and my training will hone my skills, but my journey exhilarates me the most of all. Your Scholarship means that I don’t have to work two jobs to afford my rising rent plus tuition and tools, then juggle my time to complete assignments. Someday I will wake up in a house of my own design and know that I made it. Not by myself alone, but thanks to the support of everyone who believed in me, taught me and gifted me with this Scholarship. Your generosity will help me achieve my dreams!”
Abbott adds, “How can you not be inspired by Julio? He will be a tremendous ambassador to the Architecture program. And just as the Veterans Resource Center supports Annexstad Scholars, our COD Foundation will support Julio so he can feel secure and thrive – both in his educational experience and wherever his dreams lead him.”