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Local Vietnam veterans present 2019 scholarships to Forsyth County students
Cumming Chapter 1030
From left, Eliza Gazaway of North Forsyth High, Victoria Salo of West Forsyth High and Matthew Dees of Forsyth Central High were this year’s scholarship winners. Each holds a certificate and photo naming their scholarship for an American Military Member killed in the Vietnam War. - photo by For the FCN

Three recent graduates of Forsyth County High Schools were awarded scholarships June 4 by Cumming Chapter 1030 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. It is the fourth annual scholarship program to recognize students for their academic achievement and school and community activities.

The $1,000 scholarships are awarded in the name of a Georgian killed in action during the Vietnam War. This year’s winners are:

• Eliza Gazaway of North Forsyth High School, the daughter of Judy Austin and Daniel Gazaway. Her scholarship was presented to honor the memory of Marine Corps Lance Corp. Emory Franklin Johnson of Toccoa, killed in action in Quang Nam Vietnam on Feb. 24, 1967.

• Victoria Salo of West Forsyth High School, the daughter of Christina Palacios and Keith Salo. Her scholarship was presented in honor of the memory of Army Specialist 5 Bobby Jene Fields of Dahlonega, killed in action in the Republic of Vietnam on March 14, 1971.

• Matthew Dees of Forsyth Central High School, son of Melanie and Joseph Dees.

His scholarship was presented to honor the memory of PFC William Burgess of Ellijay, killed in action in Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam on June 4, 1969.

Chapter members were able to locate William Burgess’ sisters Evelyn Morace of Jackson, and Elizabeth Mooney of Talmo, who attended the meeting where Chapter 1030 honored the memory of their brother 50 years to the day when he was killed in action. Both sisters were touched by the Cumming Vietnam Veterans’ naming a scholarship for their brother. “I only wish Mother and Daddy were here to see this happening,” Mooney said.

Thirty nine students applied for the scholarship. In addition to scholastic excellence, school activities and community service, applicants were required to submit an original essay on the topic “Why Freedom Isn’t Free.”

Chapter President Gary Goyette extended his congratulations to the scholarship recipients and noted that, in his words, “Once again all of the applicants demonstrated excellence in their academics, school activities and volunteering in the communities in which they live.” Goyette said choosing three from those entering was a difficult task as every applicant was deserving of a scholarship.

Chapter 1030 has already begun working on next year’s scholarships and will be notifying schools and guidance counselors about the program in the fall semester.