I am a Townsend Scholar and wanted to commend you for your lovely article profiling Col. Del Townsend. Thanks to his generous giving, I purchased my first computer for school use and attended college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
As my graduation from McCook High School in 1999 drew near, I had a number of concerns about how I would fund my future education. I had worked part-time through high school (a cashier at Hinky Dinky), but even with some small savings and money from family, there was no way I could have attended college without outside financial support -- support that, without the Townsend Scholarship, would have left me with mounds of debt.
The Col. Townsend Scholarship meant that I could not only offset the cost of tuition, but that it would be paid for in full. Even more important, was the personal involvement from Del.
He sent me a personal, congratulatory letter to celebrate my receipt of the scholarship and we kept in touch throughout my college years. Each spring he hosts a reunion for recipients and their families, and although I haven't been able to attend, we do keep in touch through e-mail and cards.
College was a difficult time for me, as I battled the general challenges of being a full-time student on top of personal and family issues. But whenever times got tough, I thought of Del and his generosity, and considered how lucky I was to have received his support. No way was I letting him down!
When Del attended UNL's commencement ceremony in August 2003 to see me receive my bachelor's degree, I was both proud and grateful. I only hope that I can someday have the means to share as generously as he does.
So, thank you for honoring Col. Townsend with a profile in your paper. His is an amazing story that deserves to be told, and I am thankful to be a part of that story.
Heather J. Svoboda
EDITOR'S NOTE -- Svoboda is editor, DePaul University Advancement Communications, owns HJS Copy Services and performs with two improv groups in the Chicago area.