The Rockmore Society
In 1962, Brigadier General Martin F. Rockmore USMC (Ret.) read a newspaper article about a Marine who had been awarded the Medal of Honor but could not afford to send his son to college. He took action, rounding up a group of fellow Marines and organizing a dance to raise scholarship funds for the student. Today, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has since awarded more than 37,000 scholarships worth nearly $110 million to support the children of Marines.
General Rockmore knew the importance of legacy. But he also knew that real legacies are made through impact. As the namesake for our most committed level of investors, The Rockmore Society is reserved to patriots with a vision for both. There are more than 160 Rockmore Society members. Meet a few and you'll see the legacy they have created for countless Marine families in the future.
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Foundation supporter and Society member since 2013.
After 29 years as a dedicated airman, Marine Corps spouse, and mother, Deborah Cafferato-ReFalo was determined to obtain her college education. Also the daughter of Private First Class Hector A. Cafferata, Jr. USMC (Ret.), Deborah was able to pursue her dream with the support of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Today, Deborah is paying it forward by including the Scholarship Foundation in her will.
“ When I would get that scholarship check every semester it was like holding hope. Someone who didn’t know me, didn’t know my face, invested in me and took a risk. So now, I get to take that same leap of faith. By including the Scholarship Foundation in my will, someone else is going to get a gift that keeps on giving.”
In 1978, Deborah enlisted as an airman basic in the United States Air Force. Deborah advanced in the Air Force, was step-promoted to staff sergeant and served as NCOIC of mortuary affairs. After an honorable discharge in 1989, Deborah moved to Aiken, South Carolina, with her husband; their daughter, Alexandria, was born in 1990. In South Carolina, Deborah continued her service to others; creating a soup kitchen, and starting her own business caring for the elderly in their homes, running errands, fixing meals, and ensuring that they received their medications.
In 2002, Deborah and her family moved to Austria for five years while her husband worked for the United Nations.
Returning to South Carolina in 2007, Deborah faced personal challenges to include a divorce. Despite those difficulties, Deborah graduated from Aiken Technical College with Phi Theta Kappa honors. As Deborah pursued a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in history, she encountered financial roadblocks and personal obstacles that couldn’t hold Deborah back.
This nontraditional student exemplified a resolve and fortitude that she likely inherited from her father, Private First Class Hector A. Cafferata, Jr. USMC (Ret.), who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty demonstrated in the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. With the financial help from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Deborah was able to graduate from the University of South Carolina Aiken with honors from Chi Delta Chi.
Foundation supporter and Society member since 1992.
"For not a lot of money today, my life insurance gift will create a significant gift to the Scholarship Foundation in the future - perpetuating its mission and support of Marine families."
Gordon Evans sees opportunity at every turn. If he doesn’t, he makes it for both himself and for others.
Gordon served nine years in the Marine Corps (1965-1974) as an infantry officer and pilot in Vietnam. While serving, he quickly realized that not everyone had the same opportunities in life, including a higher education.
Gordon has always been grateful to his family for his Cornell University education and for other opportunities. He’s had successful careers in row crop vegetable farming in Southern California and commercial real estate, and continues to give back, sharing his military story and values with local elementary and high school students as a volunteer for the Joe Foss Institute.
But there have always been opportunities to give that were closer to home for Gordon. What started as smaller gifts in support of his Marine Corps family and their children—giving here and there to online fundraising auctions—evolved into a more substantive commitment, resulting in Gordon naming the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation as a beneficiary of his trust.
“I got to digging around (researching the Scholarship Foundation) and thought this is really worthwhile,” Gordon says.
His gift will endow the Capt. Gordon E. Evans and Sgt. W.E. “Mike” Clayton Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship that requires a recipient attend a school positively rated by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, The American Council of Trustees and Alumni or attend an accredited trade or vocational school.
Military children—raised on honor, courage and commitment—can bring to the college experience leadership, a drive, determination and focus that is unique to their upbringing, Gordon says. As he sees it, his gift merely gives them a leg up in becoming their own driving force to succeed.
Gordon believes the impact of his gift goes well beyond the scholarship—the formation of a liberal arts education that’s inclusive of all viewpoints is a valuable investment in our country’s future. “How better to honor the children of Marines, Navy Corpsmen and the service members themselves than by doing something like this?” he asks.
You can provide a valuable opportunity for children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen to succeed through higher education and give back to their country just like Gordon Evans has. To learn more, contact Lindsay Cameron, Senior Planned Giving Officer, at 571.386.2643 or email@example.com.
Bernadette and John Heenan
Bernadette and John Heenan
John Heenan is a busy man. He heads two companies, and serves on several boards in addition to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, among many other volunteer pursuits.
In his 30-plus years of business, John has managed acquisitions, transitions, divestitures and strategic restructuring of companies. He received his MBA in multinational finance from The Wharton School, and a bachelor’s in accounting from Drexel, where he finished first in the business school. Not bad, says John, for a young man who was “on the five-year plan in high school.”
One of nine children, John, the son of a bartender, was 18 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman in the late 1960s.
“They are the best fighting force in the world” he says. He later served in Cuba (GITMO) and North Carolina.
Today, diversification is integral to John’s retirement plan, and he’s a proponent of charitable gift annuities as part of a smart planned giving strategy. For the Scholarship Foundation, John and his wife, Bernadette, have created multiple deferred annuities in addition to their gracious annual giving.
“CGAs are a good option for a good cause and give you a tax benefit,” John says. “It’s a way for me to do some good today, increase diversification of my portfolio and is a leg in my long-term planning.” John says he also appreciates the added level of security and peace of mind knowing his wife, Bernadette, will receive a fixed income stream annually through the annuity.
A charitable gift annuity can also fund personal passions or key causes. For John and Bernadette, it’s the career and technical education scholarship program through the Scholarship Foundation.
“I really, really like the course of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation,” he says. “They will last for the very long term. And through this program, we’re giving kids very marketable skills.”
Learn more about charitable gift annuities as part of your planned giving by contacting Lindsay Cameron at 571.386.2643 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Russ Hostetler
Dr. Russ Hostetler
Dr. Russ Hostetler’s father was an Army Medic, always quiet at home about his wartime service. Russ learned of his father’s bravery only through local newspaper clippings that his mother had saved.
When talk turned to Russ serving in Vietnam years later, his mother begged him not to go, and his father—true to form—stayed quiet. Russ compromised and joined the local police department so he could serve closer to home.
As fate would have it, Russ eventually joined a running group near his home in Lakeland, Fla., where several Marines were also members. Over the years, they became friends, trained together and participated in the Marine Corps marathons where he met younger Marines and got to know their stories of sacrifice.
“The Marines have something that the other branches don’t—that sense of brotherhood—the women, too—the ‘always-ness’ of it,” Russ says. “It’s something beyond time in uniform.”
He speaks fervently about his admiration and respect for the Marines, for helping keep our country free, safe and protected.
“They constantly shoulder the load for us—and their family members, too—with what they suffer with loss and absences,” he says.
It’s a freedom that perhaps many here at home take for granted. Russ’s wife, Dr. Xiao Zhang, is from China. She reminds Russ daily how precious our freedoms are in the U.S., and about places where people, particularly women, are still oppressed.
Russ says, “The Marines are the first to respond when our freedom is threatened.” That’s why he proudly honors the Marines and their families by giving annually to the Scholarship Foundation, and through a bequest in his will.
“Education is key,” he says, something a Marine shouldn’t have to sacrifice to give to his or her children. “Our country’s debt for their service is incalculable. This is my expression of thanks.”
Learn how you can support Marines and their families’ education through the Scholarship Foundation. Contact Lindsay Cameron, Senior Planned Giving Officer, at 571.386.2643 or email@example.com for more information.
Major Sean T. Moore USMC (Ret)
Major Sean T. Moore USMC (Ret)
Rockmore Society member since 2004 and supporter since 2006
In spite of never having been avid golfers themselves, Major Sean Moore USMC (Ret.) and his wife, Elizabeth, have been strong and consistent supporters of the Scholarship Foundation's San Diego Golf Tournament on board Camp Pendleton for more than a decade. Sean, a financial advisor and portfolio manager, enjoys spending the day with his clients allowing them to learn more about the Marine Corps and the students who benefit from the Scholarship Foundation's investments in their education. In that way, he and Elizabeth hope to add to those who might consider the Scholarship Foundation for their own charitable giving.
Sean and Elizabeth recently joined The Rockmore Society thereby creating a personal legacy that will extend beyond their lifetimes and help future generations of Marine Corps sons and daughters pursue higher education. With their commitment to The Rockmore Society, Sean and Elizabeth honor Elizabeth's father, a Marine officer who passed away at a very young age, shortly after Sean had the privilege of meeting him.
Randolph H. Smith
Randolph H. Smith
Foundation supporter since 2005 and Society member since 2012.
"My father taught me to always invest in your community and the people in your community. The Marine Corps invested in me and turned my life around. My bequest to The Scholarship Foundation is one of the best ways for me to give back."
Former Marine Gives to Help Educate Today’s Children
After suffering the loss of his father, a broken engagement, accidentally cutting off his finger which got him laid off from his career as a machinist, Robert Yelenovsky joined the Marine Corps to change his life.
“The Marine Corps just turned me around instantly,” says Robert, who joined in 1984. “I really put my whole heart into it. I successfully achieved my goal of making honor man in boot camp, and that was the first real challenge I had for myself. It was hard work, but I loved it.”
Today, Robert is vice president and manager of retirement plan advisors at Fragasso Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh.
“I do the same thing in my work life as I did in boot camp with gaining honor man,” he says. “I tend to excel despite not having the formal training. Because I was raising a young family and working all the time, I was never able to complete a college degree. I just shoot for the top and use my training in the Marines to get those results.”
Back to the Marines
Recently, Robert found the Marine Corps fulfilled a need again, this time as the recipient of his time and money. He’s a member of the Steel City Marines, and serves on the committee that plans the annual scholarship dinner. He and wife, Janine, have also named the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in their will.
Robert says his training as a retirement planner and experience as a Marine spurred the gift. He says the bequest is part of properly preparing for retirement.
He remembers the sacrifices his family made and wants to assist the children of today’s Marines, especially first-generation students. He’s impressed that 90 percent of scholarship recipients graduate or are on track to graduate.
“The dollars, energy and time that we devote to this are well spent and well-deserved,” he says. “College wasn’t talked about in our household. It’s important to me that that it becomes part of the conversation for these children.”
Provide for the children of Marines, like Robert has, with a gift in your will. To learn more, contact Lindsay Cameron at 571.386.2643 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Assistant Director, Gift Planning