Written by Michael Castellon

Date: Sept. 29, 2005
CONTACT: Michael Castellon, m.castellon@ttu.edu

LUBBOCK – Friendship and tenacity are at the heart of a recent $100,000 gift to the Lee Roy Herron Memorial Endowed Scholarship for the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University.

The donation was made by Houston Endowment, Inc., a private philanthropic organization, on behalf of David Nelson, who recently retired from the endowment. The scholarship fund offers students opportunities for hands-on learning about the history of the Vietnam War. The interest earned from the endowment will be used to help students pay for a summer study trip to Vietnam, where they will experience firsthand some of the sights, sounds and weather Herron and other American serviceman experienced during the war.

“Houston Endowment’s generosity in commemorating Lee Roy Herron's life has resulted in a continuing commitment to educating young Tech students about the war in which Lee Roy made the ultimate sacrifice,” said James Reckner, director of the Texas Tech Vietnam Center. “On behalf of the students who will benefit so greatly from this scholarship, I extend my sincere thanks.”

David Nelson, who graduated with Herron from Lubbock High School, founded the scholarship in memory of his friend. The pair joined the Marine Corps’ officer training program at Texas Tech. After graduation, Herron was sent to serve in Vietnam, where he was killed in battle after single-handedly destroying an enemy machine-gun bunker. Herron was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest honor given by the Marines for bravery.

“First and foremost, the scholarship preserves the legacy and memory of an honorable and heroic individual who had a strong commitment to God, country and the Marine Corps,” Nelson said. “Additionally, the annual scholarships will allow students to travel to Vietnam and learn first-hand about various aspects of that country. Finally, the endowed fund will continue to highlight the importance and significance of The Vietnam Center at Texas Tech.”

The fund, which started at $33,000 in 2001, has grown to more than $200,000 thanks to Nelson's tenacity, individual contributions and the recent gift from Houston Endowment, Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc. made the gift to the scholarship fund earlier this year. Formal announcement of the gift will be made Oct. 12, 11:30 a.m. at the Formby Room, Southwest Collections Library.

CONTACT: James Reckner, director of the Texas Tech University Vietnam Center, (806) 742-3742, or james.reckner@ttu.edu.

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