Local organization boosts support for student veterans
For the second year in a row, the Ibis Friends of Veterans Charitable Organization, Inc. has committed to help student veterans at Palm Beach State College.
The organization donated $35,000 from its annual golf tournament to the Palm Beach State College Foundation at the Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach. The gift, presented yesterday, was $10,000 more than their previous donation.
This year’s donation will go toward student veteran scholarships, book stipends and club events on all of Palm Beach State’s campuses. The previous year’s funds, which were also used for scholarships and stipends, were distributed to student veterans on the Palm Beach Gardens campus.
“It is an honor for us to raise money to support people who have contributed to our freedom,” said Bill Emerson, an Ibis Friends of Veterans board member who presented the check to the Foundation. “The College’s Palm Beach Gardens campus has done such a great job in helping vets navigate their way through college through its Veterans Resource Center and we wanted to help the institution expand that support.”
The College opened the Veterans Resource Center in the spring of last year. The furniture at the location was provided through an additional gift by the Ibis Friends of Veterans after their initial donation. The College also has centers for veterans on the Lake Worth and Boca Raton campuses.
Also in attendance during the presentation was recent Palm Beach State graduate and veteran Justin Atkins who said this kind of community support not only helps student veterans finish college, it helps make them feel more confident in an environment where they oftentimes feel uncomfortable.
“For me, going back to college after the military was quite intimidating,” said Atkins. “It’s a totally different culture and environment. But the resources and information that the College was able to provide me, along with the opportunity to be around other student vets at the Veterans Resource Center, completely took that intimidation away.”
The Ibis Friends of Veterans Charitable Organization was established in 2012 by Bruce Gamradt and other veteran supporters residing in Ibis Golf & Country Club.