(April 8, 2010)--On any given first Wednesday morning of the month, if you start early and travel to Mendez Cafe on Bartholomew near Quintana Road, you will find a patriotic group of American workers, now retired, enjoying breakfast tacos and talking about old times.
On average there are 20 men who gather, all ex-Kelly Air Force Base employees who represent a combined 600 years of military aircraft maintenance experience.
And still, even though Kelly closed on July 13, 2001, these individuals continue to give back to the community they served because of an endowed scholarship fund at UTSA.
According to Larry Cheever, the former base chief financial officer and now designated spokesperson for the group, for the last 25 years of Kelly's existence, a group of managers and supervisors established and maintained a Kelly AFB chapter of the U.S. Department of Defense Federal Managers Association. The FMA is a non-union employee group that advocates to Congress on behalf of its members to improve government operations. The local chapters support member management training, leadership opportunities and community service.
"When the base closed, we had some funds left over, but rather than throw a big party, we took the approximate $35,000 and established the Federal Managers Association Kelly Air Force Base Endowed Scholarship Fund," said Cheever.
At UTSA, when an endowed scholarship is set up, the gift provides support in perpetuity. Just like dividends on a mutual fund account, each year a distribution is made to fund the student scholarship. Investment earnings above the dividend rate help the endowment value grow over time to keep pace with inflation and maintain spending power.
The Kelly Managers scholarship fund has awarded more than $18,000 in scholarships to UTSA students since it was established about 10 years ago, according to Benga Adeeko, UTSA director of endowment services and compliance. The investment value of the endowment as of February 2010 was $41,111.15.
When Cheever recently received a letter from UTSA President Ricardo Romo thanking the Kelly group for their continuing support of the university, his curiosity was piqued and he called UTSA to inquire about the fund.
"Once I heard how much good the scholarship fund has already done, I felt really proud of what we all did," said Cheever. "We still think a lot about Kelly and our motto 'God, family and country,' so it's nice to know that Kelly, though gone, is still making an impact for the good of San Antonio."
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