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Vietnam Veterans of America gives scholarships to Forsyth graduates
Priest WEB
Rachel Priest.

CUMMING -- Two recent Forsyth County high school graduates received scholarships named in honor of soldiers who died in the Vietnam War by a local veterans’ organization.

Rachel Priest and Ally Williams were recently awarded the inaugural scholarships from Cumming Chapter 1030 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

“We wanted to initiate the scholarship program to … reward deserving high school seniors who are the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of U.S. military veterans,” said Gary Ely, chapter president, in a news release. “We also wanted to use the scholarships as a vehicle to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.”

Priest’s award was named for Spec. 4th Class Harvie R. Fradie, who was killed in the Quang Tri Province in South Vietnam in January 1970, and Williams’ was in memory of Sgt. 1st Class Billy Charles, who was killed in February 1967 in Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam.

The scholarships are worth $1,500.

The two were selected from dozens of applicants, and the scholarships took community and school involvement into consideration. Applicants also wrote on the personal meaning of the phrase, “Why freedom isn’t free.”

Williams is a recent graduate of Fideles Christian School and will attend Kennesaw State University to pursue a nursing degree.

Priest graduated from Lambert High School and plans to study journalism at the University of Georgia.

Per the release, the local chapter will meet with school officials during the 2016-17 school year to discuss the 2017 scholarship.

The group meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Georgia Natural Guard Readiness Center and welcomes all Vietnam-era veterans.